Michigan Lawmaker Says He Saw Buses Of “Illegal Invaders” – They Were NCAA Basketball Teams

Source: Twitter/X/matthewmaddock

2024 is an election year, meaning that Republicans and Democrats alike are doubling down on the issues that they see as winners. For liberals, that’s women’s rights and the affordability crisis, and for conservatives, that’s the border crisis. Republicans have been preaching about the dangers of illegal immigration for years, but the rhetoric has significantly ramped up in recent months.

A Polarizing Opinion

While this might be polarizing, it is understandable. The border crisis has become a significant problem for states in recent years, with states like California and Texas suffering significant burden due to waves of immigrants crossing the border in recent months.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

2023 saw the highest number of border crossings that the United States has experienced in years, with more than 2.7 million migrant encounters recorded by the Department of Homeland Security.

Significant Backlash Against the Biden Administration

This is a fact that has caused significant backlash towards the Biden administration, on the part of conservatives. Many legislators believe that Biden – and Homeland Security, by extension – are allowing the issue at the border to run wild, rather than doing anything significant about it.

Source: Wikimedia/The White House

This argument is slightly dampened when considering the fact that a bipartisan bill was passed in the Senate, which did a great deal to address many of the issues that Republicans say they have with current migrant policy. The deal was killed after it was passed, though, with Republicans in both the House and Senate refusing to vote for any bipartisan legislation.

Trump as an Example of Immigration Policy

That hasn’t stopped Republicans from stating, without proof, that Biden could be doing more to address the immigration crisis. Many Republicans have pointed to former President Donald Trump for an example of how a president should handle the immigration crisis.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Embassy in France

This is in spite of the fact that, like President Biden, Trump had a challenging time passing any legislation regarding the border. Even when he had the trinity of leadership – a Republican House, Senate, and Presidency – it was a struggle to make any meaningful legislation happen regarding the border, given liberal’s desire for greater compassion regarding the migrant crisis.

Doubling Down on Immigration

Republicans have continued to double down on the immigration argument, attempting to capitalize on growing discontent in Americans in an election year. Many cities across the United States – especially those being sold as “sanctuary cities” – have been struggling under the influx of new migrants.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

This includes cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago, which have all reported increased difficulty in housing migrants and assimilating them into life. There are limited numbers of work visas and other types of permits that allow migrants to stay in the country legally while they wait for asylum processes to play out, and these cities are struggling.

Border Issues Caused by Democratic Policies

These challenges, along with states like California passing legislation that allows illegal immigrants to qualify for state benefits, have given Republicans significant political fodder to speak and run on.

Source: Wikimedia/© Tomas Castelazo

Republicans state that the border crisis is due to “lax Democratic policies” that encourage migrants to come to the United States. They claim that policies that allow migrants to qualify for various state programs bring migrants to the states searching for a better life, all on the taxpayer’s dollar and to the burden of the United States.

Making Assumptions

They’re quick to make assumptions about any type of travel within the United States, claiming that various Democratic states are illegally facilitating immigration through the country without any consideration for legal immigration procedures.

Source: Wikimedia/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Unfortunately, when making assumptions, Republicans don’t always get it right. One Michigan lawmaker is currently facing significant social and political backlash, after posting online about a bus of “illegal invaders” that turned out to be student athletes traveling to Detroit for an NCAA tournament.

A Michigan Representative Speaking

Michigan state Representative, Matthew Maddock, went on X, formerly known as Twitter, this past week and posted a photo of three buses on a tarmac near an Allegiant Airlines jet, at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Source: X/matthewmaddock

The caption read, “Happening right now. Three busses just loaded up with illegal invaders at Detroit metro. Anyone have any idea where they’re headed with their police escort?”

Basketball Players on the Bus

Unfortunately for Maddock, it was quickly discovered that there weren’t, in fact, any illegals on board the bus at all. The buses were carrying the four men’s basketball teams that are competing in Detroit for the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight games.

Source: X/matthewmaddock

This was confirmed by a Wayne County Airport Authority spokesperson. “The four men’s basketball teams competing in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 at Little Caesars Arena arrived at DTW Wednesday evening. The buses seen in a photograph circulating online were transporting the basketball teams and their respective staffs,” the statement said.

Lack of Clarity

It’s unclear whether Maddock himself took the photos that were seen in his post. His district does not cover DTW, and it’s unclear what he might have been doing at the airport to be able to take those photos personally, in the first place.

Source: X/ZagMBB

Other users on Twitter were quick to point out the flaws in Maddock’s claim. They cited earlier photos that had been posted by Gonzaga’s account, which included the Allegiant jet with the caption “Wheels up to the Motor City.”

Students from Gonzaga University

According to plane tracking website, an Allegiant flight took off from Spokane International Airport in Washing, at around 1 PM local time. It arrived at DTW before 7:30 PM local time on Wednesday, carrying students from Gonzaga University, which is a private liberal arts school in Spokane.

Source: Wikimedia/SCUMATT

A spokesperson for the team confirmed that Gonzaga’s men’s basketball team were the ones who were on the flight.

Ongoing Border Issues

This mixup is part of the ongoing issue with Republicans and the border. Despite the fact that many Americans see the border crisis as an existential issue, and many have cited it as one of their primary issues going into the election this fall, the use of inflammatory language is largely seen as a turn off.

Source: Wikimedia/Alisdare Hickson from Canterbury

This includes language like Maddock used in his tweet, calling migrants “illegal invaders.” Maddock’s post on X was promptly “ratio’d,” or bombarded with replies that criticized his post. A fellow state senator, Mallory McMorrow, said that the post was dangerous in a reply on Twitter.

Other Criticisms

“A sitting State Representative sees a group of busses at the airport and immediately yells ‘illegal invaders’ which is a pretty rude (and also, frankly, dangerous) way to greet the Gonzaga Men’s Basketball Team arriving for March Madness,” McMorrow said.

Source: X/MalloryMcMorrow

Sam Inglot, executive director of Progress Michigan, also commented on the issue. “Maddock and so many Republicans across the country are carelessly using militaristic language to describe an already-marginalized group of people. This type of dehumanization inevitably leads to violence and we cannot let Republicans get away with using it to divide our communities and put people in danger.”

Politicians Need to Tread Carefully

Maddock has not commented on his mistake in the days since the initial error, though many Democrats and moderates have called him out for the inflammatory language of his post.

Source: Wikimedia/The U.S. National Archives, No restrictions

It’s an example of how careful politicians need to be regarding the border crisis. While it’s true that there is a true issue regarding the immigration system in the United States, it’s also true that it’s a delicate problem that requires careful handling. Using inflammatory language and attempting to hardball the issue will only drive Americans further apart on this significant moral and political issue, at a time when coming together is of the utmost importance.

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James Cross

Written by James Cross

James Cross, an enigmatic writer from the historic city of Boston. James' writing delves into mysteries, true crime, and the unexplained, crafting compelling narratives that keep readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. His viral articles, blog posts, and documentary-style videos explore real-life enigmas and unsolved cases, inviting audiences to join the quest for answers. James' ability to turn real mysteries into shareable content has made him a sensation in the world of storytelling.

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