The Daily Telegraph

Republican­s ‘flying migrants into Biden’s backyard’

- By Rozina Sabur

REPUBLICAN­S in Washington are reportedly preparing to charter a plane to take undocument­ed migrants to President Joe Biden’s Delaware beach retreat as they seek to pressure him over his handling of the Us-mexico border.

The White House said last night that it was aware of reports that up to 30 migrants were being flown to Rehoboth Beach, and condemned the move as a “political stunt”. It comes as the number of undocument­ed migrants arrested along the Us-mexico border surpassed two million in a single year for the first time ever.

The Biden administra­tion has blamed “failing communist regimes” such as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua for the surge.

The White House said it was coordinati­ng closely with state officials who would be on hand to help if needed.

Ron Desantis, the Republican governor of Florida and a potential 2024 presidenti­al candidate, did not confirm reports he was behind the move. But last week, without warning, he paid for around 50 undocument­ed Venezuelan migrants to fly to Martha’s Vineyard, an affluent Massachuse­tts island.

Separately, Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas, arranged for two bus loads of migrants to be dropped off outside the residence of Kamala Harris, the US vice-president.

The plane intended for Delaware can hold some 30 passengers and has been chartered by the same firm that arranged the flights to Martha’s Vineyard, the Tampa Bay Times reported. At a press conference yesterday, Mr Desantis said: “It’s opening people’s eyes to the solution, which is ‘let’s have a secure border’”.

Asked about his reaction to reports Mr Desantis intended to send migrants to his Delaware beach house, Mr Biden told reporters: “He should come visit. We have a beautiful shoreline.”

Karine Jean-pierre, the White House press secretary, called the moves “political theatre” and a “cruel, premeditat­ed political stunt”, adding that Mr Desantis’s “only goal” was “to create chaos”.

John Carney, Delaware’s governor, said the state was coordinati­ng with federal officials and other groups and was “prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner”.

Immigratio­n is a thorny issue for the White House, with Mr Biden facing criticism from the Left and the Right over his handling of US border security.

The administra­tion has largely avoided the issue in the lead-up to the November midterm elections that will determine which party controls Congress. Republican­s have attempted to fill the void by highlighti­ng figures and making immigratio­n control a centrepiec­e of their campaign.

In an unusual step, the Biden administra­tion held a briefing with reporters before this week’s release of CBP’S figures that revealed migrant arrests along America’s southweste­rn border are likely to exceed 2.3 million in the 11 months to Sept 30.

Last year’s record total was more than 1.7 million arrests. The number of migrants expelled – more than 1.3 million – was also a record.

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