John Lamparski/Getty; Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Getty Jared Kushner (left), Ron DeSantis
Jared Kushner said this week he finds recent reports of migrant flights "troubling," suggesting that Republicans including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are using migrants as "political pawns."
"I personally watch what's happening, and it's very hard to see at the southern border," 41-year-old Kushner said in an interview on Fox News Thursday. "We have to remember that these are human beings, they're people, so seeing them being used as political pawns one way or the other is very troubling to me."
Kushner's remarks came days after DeSantis claimed responsibility for sending two planes of migrants to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, following in the footsteps of conservative governors in Texas and Arizona, who have sent bus-loads of migrants to Washington, D.C. in recent months.
Massachusetts state Sen. Julian Cyr told CNN that approximately 50 migrants traveling by plane landed in Martha's Vineyard last Wednesday, and were then taken to Martha's Vineyard Community Services.
According to Cyr, there was "no advance notice" given to anyone in Massachusetts.
"The island scrambled to respond," he told the network. "They essentially set up shelters, the equivalent of a hurricane or Nor'easter. They set that up in a matter of hours and these families received a meal. They were Covid tested and are spending the night in shelters at several churches on the island."
As Kushner explained on Fox News, the migrants being flown or bussed from Republican states to more liberal areas — often as a means to publicize the conservative stance on immigration — are fleeing dangerous situations and seeking a better life in America.
"People don't talk enough about the fact that these people are lured into these journeys by the coyotes, they're paying a lot of money. I think 80 percent of women are sexually assaulted along the way," Kushner said on Fox News. "They come into America, they don't have papers, many of them are exploited … so it's a very sad situation."
Elsewhere in his interview, Kushner criticized President Joe Biden's border policies, saying thatthe current administration should not have reversed the policies of former President Donald Trump (Kushner's father-in-law).
DeSantis' shuttling of migrants to Martha's Vineyard comes as other Republican governors have done the same: moving refugees out of their states and to Democrat-led areas.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott claimed responsibility for a similar recent stunt in which two buses of migrants arrived at the US Naval Observatory — Vice President Kamala Harris' residence in Washington, D.C. CNN reports that the volunteers who staff the observatory were surprised at their arrival, and had not been previously notified.
That move came after Abbott, who is running for reelection this year, announced in April that he was busing migrants from the Lone Star State to the Big Apple.
In May, Arizona's Republican Gov. Doug Ducey made a similar move, sending migrants from his state's southern border to Washington, D.C.