For months, Republican politicians and commentators have been accusing the Biden administration of flying thousands of undocumented migrants on secret nighttime “ghost flights” from the border to cities all over the country.
“Here’s what happens with these flights,” Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, said at a news conference in November. “There’s no notification to the state of Florida. These are done mostly in the middle of the night. And it’s clandestine.”
The controversy took off on Fox News, especially after Rob Astorino, who is running for governor of New York, released a murky video this month showing migrant teenagers disembarking from a plane in Orange County, N.Y. “We the citizens pay all the bills,” he complained on Twitter.
a package of measures designed to combat human trafficking and illegal immigration, to penalize airline companies that knowingly transport undocumented immigrants to the state except to detain or deport them.
new measures the Florida governor outlined last week was a law enforcement strike force to deal with illegal migrant and weapons smuggling and a petition to the State Supreme Court to impanel a statewide grand jury to look at smuggling organizations and how they affect Florida.
National anti-immigration groups continue to seize on the “ghost flights” issue. Last week, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization that lobbies to curb all immigration, announced a new series of digital ads under the moniker “Stop the Night Flights” that it said were designed to “expose the magnitude of the Biden administration’s night flight illegal immigration transportation program.”
Immigrant rights groups call the “ghost flights” issue a cynical attempt to use vulnerable children for political advantage during the midterm election campaign.
“Weaponizing these kids is needlessly cruel and appeals to crude xenophobic and racist impulses,” said Ms. Mukherjee of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic. “For these politicians, the kids are a campaign tool being used for political gain.”