The flight of the monarch butterfly

The bussing of migrants shouldn’t be a political statement


The monarch butterfly migration season, usually in full swing by October, came early this year with an influx of Hispanic migrants. The monarch butterfly is one of many symbols coined by immigration activists to depict the migrant story. The story of a monarch butterfly mirrors that of a migrant: both moving between borders, one more freely than the other for “warmer weather.” Immigration has become a headline issue, with thousands of faces plastered on tabloids clearly showcasing a humanitarian crisis. But behind these photos and conversations lie real people, real families, and real lives that are constantly being used as pawns in political discussions, both from politicians and ordinary citizens. 

Last month, thousands of migrants south of the border were relocated across the country to several metropolitan areas, including the bussing of 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. These relocations are still continuing, with a bus of migrants being sent to Chicago by Texas Gov. Abbott and Florida Gov. DeSantis according to CNN.

The debate surrounding migrants has always been heated, with Republicans arguing for various policies restricting United States borders. Republicans say bussing migrants draws attention to the rising number of migrants crossing into the United States through its border with Mexico. This move attempts to distribute the “burden” of hosting the asylum seekers. While it may be argued that southern states face the brunt of the responsibility for these migrants and thus may be justified in deferring to northern states, the issue lies in the fact that many migrants were deceived in order to get them on these buses. Republican governors used misleadingmeans to fool these hopeful migrants into traveling to places unprepared for their arrival. Many migrants have fled their homes to escape poverty, political unrest and violence, but find that the U.S. offers little support. They arrive in a country where politicians use them as human pawns to wage culture wars and fuel wedge issues. Migrants are not pawns; they are people coming to America to give themselves and their families a better life, not to shift elections or be the face of political rhetoric. This remains true, whether Republican intentions are justified or not.

However, liberals aren’t immune from making this a political move either. Our mayor Lori Lightfoot herself, a proud Democrat, has denounced the governors responsible for the bussing while also immediately sending migrants to majority-Republican suburbs. Democrats have escalated the issue by pushing migrants into a hot potato game, constantly being made into someone else’s issue. The real difference between Republicans and Democrats bussing is that Democrats are doing it quietly. The Biden-Harris administration has largely ignored and denied the historic issue of border control. Democrats criticize the actions of Republicans without providing good alternatives to the issue. The truth is that they care about how bad they can make their opponents look ahead of the upcoming midterms. 

Many Jones students are children of migrants, whose own parents went through a troublesome journey to give them the opportunities they have now. These parents are no different than the resilient migrants that are being bussed. They are not separate from this influx of migrants simply because they came at a different time. They are all a part of the same group that came to this country for their children, for their families, for us. Migrants are not pawns, or faces in news articles, or political advertisements – they are mothers, fathers and children. They are people just as we are, and consequently deserve to be treated as such from both sides of the political spectrum. The issue of immigration is complicated, but the fact that real lives are involved in policy-making is a simple one. Border Patrol says that approximately 8,000 migrants enter the U.S. every day, and this number isn’t just a statistic on a piece of paper. This number is a measure of the human lives being affected by the every decision of politicians on both sides of the issue. Immigration is not a political issue, it’s a humanitarian issue. It is not one side against the other, but rather us working together to save lives, not just of this generation but of generations to come.

The issue of the bussing of migrants has become a heavily politicized event, and is expected to influence upcoming midterm elections. Neither side is innocent of turning the question of human life into one of questioning others’ morality. This is another example of how political parties are more enemies than they are standing as one whole nation. However, as this issue continues to be debated, we must help the migrants who are being affected by this issue by providing practical aid to those migrants being displaced by donating resources. And to the migrants of this generation and of those to come, estamos con ustedes. We stand with you.