(CNN) — Republican governors are in a cynical competition to outdo each other and bus immigrants from the US border to New York, Washington, Chicago and, now, by plane to Martha’s Vineyard.

Two unannounced planes carrying about 50 immigrants landed in the wealthy Massachusetts seaside enclave on Wednesday night, shocking locals.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took credit for moving immigrants out of Texas, not Florida, and leaving them unplanned on the street.

His move may have been outdone by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who began sending buses of migrants to Washington in April and on Thursday morning dropped off asylum seekers outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ home in the United States Naval Observatory. Harris is under fire from immigration supporters for saying Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she was confident the border is “secure.”

Many rightly pointed out that the political point of view came at the expense of vulnerable immigrants who had already been through a tremendously arduous journey, but some of the details of the transportation of these immigrants may surprise you. To begin with, many were grateful for the trip.

Are these immigrants in the country illegally?

These moves by Republican governors are based on the false idea that immigrants are in the country illegally. Technically, those on the buses and planes are asylum seekers who have been processed by federal immigration authorities and are awaiting court dates.

Where do immigrants come from?

While most of these immigrants crossed the border into Mexico, they are fleeing poor economies and dangerous situations at home in Central America and, increasingly, in South America. After crossing the border and applying for asylum, they are released into the United States to await hearings on their asylum application.

One person who stayed in Massachusetts, a 45-year-old man named Leonel, told The New York Times about his three-month journey from Venezuela through Colombia and Central America. He attempted more than once to cross the US border with Mexico before being detained and later released in San Antonio.

It was there that he was approached and asked if he wanted to go to Massachusetts. It’s unclear if she knew he was headed to a wealthy island community unprepared for the arrivals.

Are they being forced onto buses and planes? no they are not

Anger over the governors’ maneuvering is also fueled in part by the idea that people are being forced onto buses. That’s not true, as CNN’s Gary Tuchman discovered when he visited a shelter in Eagle Pass, Texas, in August.

He met asylum seekers planning to reunite with family and friends who were already scattered across the country. Other immigrants who came to the United States with nowhere to go were happy about the free ride.

Who is happy about the trip? These people have amazing stories

Tuchman spoke with a 28-year-old Venezuelan woman named Genesis Figueroa who traveled for a month and a half by foot, bus and boat to get to Eagle Pass with her husband.

“I got really tired. My legs hurt and I got sick,” she told Tuchman. “I got pneumonia. I was hospitalized for three days in Guatemala.” Look at Tuchman’s report.

He also spoke with cousins ​​traveling from Venezuela; a man’s brother died during the trip after disappearing while crossing the Rio Grande.

Nearly 750 immigrants are known to have died on the southern border since October 2021, CNN’s Priscilla Alvarez recently reported.

“We went out in search of a dream, but now it is a very difficult situation, tough,” Luis Pulido told Tuchman. He was going to board a bus bound for Washington, hoping to get off in Kentucky to be greeted by relatives before moving on to Chicago.

What happens after the bus ride?

A week after their bus ride, Tuchman found Pulido and his cousin in Chicago, where they had reunited with family, were staying in a small shared apartment and were looking for restaurant work. They are likely to be unable to work legally for at least 180 days, according to the rules posted on the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website.

Tuchman told me that Pulido and his cousin went on their first dates, but they were mostly administrative and are waiting for his next appearance.

It takes a long time to get a work permit

Getting a work permit can take up to a year, New York City officials told CNN’s Polo Sandoval, who also reported on the issue last month.

He went to a shelter in Brooklyn and met a young couple from Venezuela, Anabel and Crisman Urbaez, who are seeking asylum.

They showed him cellphone videos of their two-month journey through 10 countries, often on foot, that began in Peru and continued through jungles in Colombia and the Darien Gap that links South and Central America, all with their children. 6 and 9 years old and their dog Max.

Another 140 migrants from Texas arrive in New York 0:48

How long does it take to resolve an immigration case?

It takes years. The average time to complete an immigration case is 1,110 days, according to data Obtained by Syracuse University. During that time, immigrants and asylum seekers begin to build American lives.

How many will be granted asylum?

Less than half of asylum applications have been granted in recent years, according to Syracuse.

During the Trump administration, the denial rate exceeded 70%, but during the first year of the Biden administration the grant rate rose to almost 40%.

Why do so many come from Venezuela?

Álvarez recently wrote about the mass exodus from Venezuela. The United Nations says a similar number of people are fleeing the South American country, which has suffered years of political repression and economic unrest, much like war-torn Ukraine. About 6.8 million Venezuelans are part of this diaspora.

Venezuelan immigrant recounts how he was taken to Martha’s Vineyard 1:07

How many people have crossed the border this year?

There have been nearly 2 million border encounters reported by US Customs and Border Protection. so far in the fiscal year ending September 30.

Some of those encounters are repeated crossovers. Others have been pushed back under a Trump-era Covid-19 policy that the Biden administration has tried, so far unsuccessfully, to end. A fraction is seeking asylum.

Why are officials declaring states of emergency?

Officials in New York City, Illinois and Washington have declared emergencies to deal with the buses, complaining they have no idea when or where to expect them, and want a warning from Texas, Arizona and now Florida.

Texas has spent more than $12 million and bused some 9,000 immigrants north.

Overall, buses and now planes have moved thousands of migrants, but it’s a tiny fraction of the nearly 700,000 pending asylum claims that are slowly making their way through the court system.

All of these stories are unique, but many of them share the theme of fleeing a home without opportunity and feeling comparatively happy about the journey within the United States from the border.