STORY: Carrying whatever small luggage they had, a group of migrants from South America arrived on the wealthy Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard Wednesday. Two chartered planes carried them to the politically liberal enclave, part of a campaign by Republican governors to shift the immigration burden to Democratic areas.
With a population of just 20,000, some Martha's Vineyard residents Thursday decried the move as a political "stunt," as local officials and volunteers scrambled to help the confused new arrivals, like Uvaldo Arcaya, who said he fled political persecution in Venezuela, and hopes to find work in the U.S.
"I have a lot of faith and patience in the people here, and they're helping us."
Though a Massachusetts state representative said the passengers had arrived from Texas, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took credit for sending this group.
"All those people in DC and New York were beating their chests when Trump was president, saying they were so proud to be sanctuary jurisdictions, saying how bad it was to have a secure border. The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all the sudden go berserk."
On Thursday morning, another group of migrants bused in from Texas arrived in Washington D.C. and were left stranded next to the U.S. Naval Observatory, home to Vice President Kamala Harris.
David Morales told Reuters he came from Venezuela before embarking on the 40-hour long bus ride.
“A very long trip, quite tough. We didn't expect to be left adrift here, without knowing where to head to. Our objective is to reach New York.''
Carla Bustillos, a volunteer working with NGOs that care for migrants, said they were waiting for the buses to arrive at Union Station, only to find they had dropped the migrants off outside the Vice President's residency.
"So while we're doing this political show, we have human beings feeling that their suffering is being exploited. They have come to the United States to seek asylum and they have been told to get on these buses and promised that an organization would receive them here, give them food, shelter and a job.”
The high profile moves of dropping migrants far from the border come as Republican Governor DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott both seek re-election in November. They say they are trying to push responsibility for a record number of border arrivals to Democratic strongholds, including Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday that Republicans are using the migrants as "political pawns".
"The fact that Fox News, and not the Department of Homeland Security, the city or local NGOs were alerted about a plan to leave migrants - including children - on the side of a busy D.C. street makes clear that this was just a cruel, premeditated political stunt."
A Freedom of Information Act request showed Texas has bused more than 7,000 migrants to Washington, D.C. and New York City since April, spending nearly $13 million on the initiative through Aug. 8, according to state data obtained through.