Putting TRAC to Work
September 27, 2022

Letters from an American
By Heather Cox Richardson

Florida governor Ron DeSantis has also gotten in on the disinformation game. Texas governor Greg Abbott has been ferrying migrants from the southern border north, appealing to the right-wing base with the argument that such movement will illustrate to “liberal” cities the burdens such migrants impose on the border states. On September 14, DeSantis got into the act, flying 48 unsuspecting migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts. As DeSantis said: “The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day are brought to their front door, they all go berserk.” In fact, the people of Martha’s Vineyard welcomed the migrants, fed and sheltered them, and got them back to the mainland where they could have access to housing and human services. More to the point, it is a myth that Republican-dominated border states are bearing the brunt of migrants seeking asylum. Greg Sargent of the Washington Post asked the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University (TRAC) to figure out where the asylum seekers in the U.S. are. From court records, TRAC calculated that 750,000 people are awaiting asylum hearings. More than 125,000 of them are in California. More than 110,000 are in New York. About 98,000 are scheduled for hearings in Florida, while about 75,000 are waiting in Texas. Most of the rest are scheduled for court hearings in Democratic-dominated states, such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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