Immigrants aboard the Governor head out of Vineyard Haven, Mass.,...

Immigrants aboard the Governor head out of Vineyard Haven, Mass., for Woods Hole, Mass., on Friday. Credit: AP/Ron Schloerb

It was hard not to smile when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis redirected a few dozen immigrants from Venezuela to uber-liberal Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Then they began filing off the airplane, blinking in the bright September sun, looking scared. The smile receded.

It hurts to watch people down on their luck. Even people whom you think shouldn’t be here. There but for the grace of God go I.

But Republican governors from southern states are on to something. By busing and flying migrants to sanctuary cities in the north, they’re finally getting the attention of liberal leaders who have no idea — or simply haven’t cared — about what conservative southern border states have been enduring for the past couple of decades.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is ringing the alarm bell, and talking about suing, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott recently bused 11,000 undocumented immigrants to New York, a city of 8.5 million people. Yuma, Arizona, with a population of around 97,000, has had to take in and process 250,000 undocumented immigrants this year alone, according to The Wall Street Journal. No one north of the Mason-Dixon Line seems to care a lick about that.

New York has plenty of noncitizens already. My town has thousands; it’s not like we’ve gone untouched. But the five boroughs and the county in which I live have declared themselves “sanctuary” havens, which is effectively an invitation to additional migrants. Texas, Florida and Arizona have no such policy in place because they stand by our existing immigration laws ostensibly and are hopelessly overwhelmed all the same. It’s no wonder they want to ship noncitizens to us. With an estimated 8,000 migrants pouring over the border daily, where are these people supposed to go?

Arriving migrants pose a serious challenge to localities that have to take them in. That’s just a fact. Families must be housed, children must be schooled, and health care must be provided. It doesn’t make one a bad person to talk about that, but cancel culture looms over every public conversation, especially in blue states. Towns and villages already struggling with public resources simply have to find a way, and dissenters are dismissed. My local elementary school only teaches in Spanish now. English-speaking students are sent to a separate school. (I was called racist for objecting.)

Many of these immigrants — a great many — have become valuable members of our communities. Our children have befriended their children, they worship with us in church, and work as hard as any American to make a living. Maybe harder.

But the sheer volume of human beings arriving from foreign lands, mostly from Central and South America, is reaching a breaking point. Americans need to feel the pressure equitably. Only then might we do something to address the crisis.

The greatest problem we’ve had with the immigration issue to date is the failure of Congress, under both parties, to do anything about it. Some members of Congress have tried, but blowback is fierce from special interest groups. The issue also plays well with base voters during election cycles, so there is an incentive for both parties to do nothing.

Meanwhile, migrants find themselves blinking in the sun and the rule of law in America lies in shambles. If buses traveling north can do anything to make that stop in the long term, keep ‘em rolling.

  

Opinions expressed by William F.B. O'Reilly, a consultant to Republicans, are his own.

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