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How immigrants are used as tools in election campaigns

Washington/Havana. On September 14, two private planes from Florida landed on Martha’s Vineyard, a luxurious American vacation island on the east coast of the United States. On board: not vacation-loving politicians in the liberal enclave, but 48 refugees from Venezuela. of Republican Ron DeSantis, the Florida governor, was brought in unannounced to protest US President Joe Biden’s immigration policy. According to New York Times research, people don’t know where they will be taken. The island was not ready for their arrival.

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DeSantis’ high-profile move comes as Republican governors from the southern U.S., including Texas’ Greg Abbott and Arizona’s Doug Ducey, have been cracking down on undocumented immigrants from the U.S.-Mexico border to Major for months. Democratic-run cities: Washington, New York, and Chicago, for example. In the US capital, migrants were dumped in front of the US Capitol and near the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris. Several thousand people are said to have been sent across the country in this way.

Propaganda on both sides

Election campaigning is heating up in the United States just ahead of the November 8th parliamentary elections. In addition to a vote on a new majority in Congress, several governorships, such as DeSantis and Abbott, are up for re-election. Many Republicans focus on immigration, but it plays a role for Democrats as well. In response to the migrant buses, Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser and New York Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency — also to receive federal money.

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According to economist and migration researcher Danny Bahar, both political camps use immigrants as a tool for their own political gain. “I don’t see any debate about immigration that really goes deep and deals with the issues,” said Bahar, who teaches at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. “Not only have Republicans used immigrants, but Democrats have also used the crisis narrative. Given the labor shortage in the U.S., it’s “amazing” that no one is talking about the prospects for immigration. .

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Many people want to go abroad

At the US-Mexico border, US Border Patrol has recorded more than two million attempts to enter the US since October 2021. According to the statistics, the number of non-immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador is increasing. More people are coming from countries like Cuba, Colombia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.

Given the strong influx from Venezuela, the United States and Mexico days ago agreed to a new procedure for dealing with migrants from the crisis: Venezuelans who entered the United States illegally are to be sent back to Mexico. In return, the United States will allow 24,000 Venezuelans who meet certain requirements to enter the country legally. Many of them, especially the less well-off, now fear deportation.

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The crisis in Venezuela

Venezuela has been in crisis for years. In a country with the world’s largest known oil reserves, high inflation and shortages of food and medicine began in 2016. More than seven million people fled, 80 percent of whom ended up in Colombia or elsewhere in Latin America and the Caribbean. According to a United Nations report, three-quarters of the population in Venezuela face problems meeting their needs. Most of them are now moving towards America. In the first nine months of the year some 108,000 Venezuelans braved the perilous march through the Darien forest from Colombia to Panama; There were 8,594 people throughout 2020.

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Cubans are also drawn to America

More and more people are moving north from Cuba. They sell what they can to fly to Nicaragua and then make their way to the US border. In the United States, Cubans are generally allowed to stay with relatives who often live in Florida during their migration procedures. In the state, about 150 kilometers from Cuba, exiled Cubans are an important group of voters for the Republican Party. The difficult supply situation in Cuba due to the US embargo and an inefficient economy was made even more precarious by the lack of tourism during the pandemic. People queue for hours for meager food. Big problems if dollars are not coming from relatives abroad.

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No U-turn under Biden

When US President Biden took office, he took a fundamentally different course than his predecessor, Donald Trump. Data from the Migration Policy Institute show that the Biden administration issued 296 immigration executive orders in its first year alone, including several relaxations. But Trump-era measures remain today: For example, Biden failed to repeal the “Title 42 rule” that Trump imposed at the start of the pandemic and used mostly to close borders. By referring to this, migrants are sent back without being able to apply for asylum – justified by the fact that they may import the coronavirus.

Between October 2021 and September 2022, US Border Patrol data show that more than one million migrants who sought asylum in the US were returned to their home countries or to Mexico. Bahar, a migration researcher, said Biden “fixed little things here and there.” But immigration policy cannot be about one face.

RND/dpa