Is DeSantis right flying migrants to Martha's Vineyard?
- On September 14, 2022, the state of Florida flew a group of 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. A spokesperson for Florida Governor DeSantis’ office said, “States like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden Administration's open border policies.'
- Martha’s Vineyard is an upscale New England island destination located an hour south of Boston. Following the arrival of the 50 migrants, Martha’s Vineyard called it a “humanitarian crisis.” In contrast, thousands of undocumented migrants have been entering border cities such as Yuma, AZ, Del Rio, and San Antonio, TX, monthly since 2021.
- Gov. DeSantis is not the first Republican leader to transport migrants from the state to other sanctuary cities. Texas governor Greg Abbot has sent thousands of migrants to D.C., New York City, and Chicago throughout 2022, with Arizona governor Doug Ducey taking similar action.
- As recorded in March 2021, 11 US states have claimed ‘sanctuary’ status, meaning they will not comply with federal immigration enforcement personnel to detain or deport undocumented migrants. They are California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington.
- The US Customs and Border Protection reported in July 2022 that nearly 200,000 migrant encounters had happened at the southern border that month with total encounters for the year amounting to 2,242,413.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made a theatrical and unhelpful gesture designed to spark outrage and garner support from radical elements in his far-right base when he flew 50 migrants to Martha's Vineyard. The fact that DeSantis sees human misery—which, as governor, he has considerable power to alleviate—as an opportunity for personal political gain is disturbing behavior. These migrants are human beings and should not be treated as pawns in the DeSantis outrage competition. One wonders what future atrocities DeSantis will commit if he is willing to pull these kinds of stunts two years out from officially entering the 2024 presidential election race.
There are procedures for dealing with illegal immigrants that do not involve chartering private jets. Governor Desantis claims to be a law and order governor, yet in this case, he has clearly sidestepped the normal legal channels. Moreover, the arrival of these migrants, without any prior notice from DeSantis's administration, has caused the region to declare it an 'urgent humanitarian situation.'
These migrants largely didn't know where they were. Most of them did not speak English, and they were totally reliant on whoever they encountered for their safety and well-being. They were purposefully sent to a rather remote location late in the day with no advanced notice to make the situation as difficult as possible. Regardless of the irrational fear-mongering and hateful anti-immigration policies put forward by the DeSantis administration, it should be expected that Florida's Republican governor would at least concern himself with the basic safety of all people. Clearly, this is not the case, and by orchestrating this bizarre publicity stunt, Florida's governor has put lives at risk for his own political gain.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been delivering on his promise to send some illegal immigrants to Democrat-led, self-declared sanctuary cities. This seems to be achieving its intended effect, bringing greater attention to the issue of illegal immigration and the burden this crisis has on the US's unsecure southern border.
Most recently, DeSantis sent a mere 50 immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, a tiny drop in the proverbial bucket compared to what border states, such as Texas and Arizona, have faced since Biden's term began. As of 2019, Florida ranked fourth in the nation with approximately 772,000 illegal immigrants. That number has grown substantially under the Biden administration as there have been over 2,000,000 illegal border crossings into the US in this fiscal year alone.
Many US cities run by liberal mayors and city councils feign virtuosity by proclaiming themselves 'sanctuary cities.' It's easy to take the moral high road when there is very little or no price to pay or direct consequences felt by open border policies. DeSantis, along with the governors of Texas and Arizona, has provided a glimpse to some Democratic-led cities – in a very small way – of what those states routinely deal with daily regarding illegal immigration.
Chicago, Washington, DC, New York City—all self-declared sanctuary cities—and now Martha's Vineyard are letting their hypocrisy show when they decry the influx of illegal immigrants into their communities and how taxing it is on their city services. After years of sanctimony, perhaps now they will realize the real and detrimental effects unchecked illegal immigration has on communities.