Ron Desantis to immigrants: We are not a sanctuary state 4:33
(WABNEWS) — Amazement, shock and condemnation are not an unfortunate byproduct of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s decisions, such as the one to bring 50 immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard. They are the desired result of the political approach of the hard-line Republican, who is seeking re-election and has in mind a potential presidential campaign designed to appeal to a radical party base that relishes candidates who stoke outrage.
DeSantis was branded inhumane, overbearing and even accused of human trafficking when the millionaires’ playground off the coast of Massachusetts was forced to deal with unexpected arrivals.RELATED
In an earlier political era, DeSantis’s hopes of rising to higher office might have ended right here. Using desperate immigrants fleeing repression and economic hardship in Venezuela as pawns in a power game does not seem compatible with American ideals of welcoming poor and hungry people who yearn to breathe free.
Yet it is a commentary on current politics — and the incentives for radicalism and extreme gestures that define the modern Republican Party — that the Florida governor’s move was seen in some quarters as his boldest to date. He again showcased the uncanny talent for weaponizing cultural issues that excite rank-and-file GOP voters and how DeSantis uses his gubernatorial position to create a record of action on the “Make America First Again” agenda.
It’s a strategy that has made him a conservative television megastar and means he would be a formidable candidate in the 2024 presidential primary, whether or not his former mentor, former President Donald Trump, a champion of extreme gesture politics, shows up or not.
The storm over immigrants in Martha’s Vineyard played out exactly according to the hardline governor’s playbook, as did previous controversies over teaching sexuality in schools, transgender athletes, masks during the coronavirus pandemic, and his promise to go after almost non-existent electoral fraud. AND
In this as in other cases, DeSantis took steps that some on the left and in the media considered extreme and misplaced. He then appeared on camera defiantly, not only taking his decision but mocking those whose criticisms he turns into more fuel to increase his power and appeal to the GOP base. The image of an unapologetic conservative facing critics of him is politically very effective, at least for now, given that he is not facing a broader national electorate.
Does De Santis inspire the US? Republican explains his reasons 2:48
But some mysterious aspects of the episode remain, such as the fact that DeSantis, who runs Florida, organized flights for migrants from Texas. And there are growing indications that the migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard may have been tricked into getting on the planes.
WABNEWS’s Maria Santana reported, for example, that a woman named “Perla” told three migrants who were sent to the island that they would receive help with housing and work once they reached their destination.
Biden Administration Offers Republicans an Opportunity on Immigration
DeSantis’ sending of migrants can be inhumane. But it has its own harsh logic. He says cities like Washington and states like Massachusetts are fueling the flow of migrants because they don’t fully cooperate with immigration enforcement authorities.
His contempt for “sanctuary” cities and states is shared by another Republican governor with a penchant for stunt politics: Greg Abbott of Texas. The staunch conservative of the Lone Star State sent two new buses loaded with migrants to Washington, where they were deposited this Thursday in front of the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris, to make a similar approach.
The volunteers had said they were prepared to receive the group at the city’s Union Station. It was not clear if the change in assignment was motivated by a desire to make a political splash to match the impact caused by DeSantis.
There are some reasons to suggest that the strategies are having an impact. The Democratic mayors of New York and Washington, Eric Adams and Muriel Bowser, have said their cities’ ability to cope with the influx of migrants sent by Republican governors is about to be overwhelmed. These comments lend credence to border states’ warnings that their resources are overwhelmed by increased migrant crossings.
However, publicity stunts like those of DeSantis and Abbott do little to really solve a complex problem. Instead, they serve as a political launching pad, like the one that landed Trump in the White House with his anti-immigration rhetoric in 2016.
But when it comes to solving the problem, the Biden administration is not without blame either. He has long struggled to find a way to talk about border security, which, despite all the hysteria on the right, is a real issue and one that many voters care about.
Harris, for example, said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the border was “secure,” a comment that conflicts with the opinion of many voters and with evidence from the nearly two million border encounters. registered by the United States Customs and Border Protection Service in the fiscal year ending September 30.
However, the right-wing demagogy with migrants only serves to further politicize the immigration issue that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama tried to resolve with a coalition of bipartisan lawmakers, only to founder on a lack of will. of conservatives on Capitol Hill to compromise. In the volatile politics that the Trump presidency has left behind, there is no chance that a serious immigration reform bill will come close to passing.
In a Pew Research Center survey In August, for example, 73% of Americans said that increasing security on the US-Mexico border to reduce illegal crossings should be a very or somewhat important goal. But the issue is more important to Republicans than Democrats, which helps explain why GOP politicians are so focused on border issues.
DeSantis looking to screw up the left
DeSantis left no doubt that he was motivated by a desire to spite liberal state officials and even seek revenge against anti-Trump voters.
“All those people in DC and New York were beating their chests when (Donald) Trump was president, saying they were so proud to be sanctuary jurisdictions, saying how bad it was to have a secure border,” DeSantis said Thursday.
“The minute you bring even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day to their doorstep, they suddenly go crazy,” he added.
Yet while it is possible to see a coherent political strategy behind the migrant transportation policies of DeSantis and Abbott, it is inescapable that both governors are exploiting the tragedies of vulnerable people for political gain. In fact, the Venezuelans brought to Martha’s Vineyard are actually victims of the kind of vindictive socialist dictatorship that DeSantis can normally condemn.
These are desperate people and, whatever the merit of their asylum claims, they are being treated as a faceless group and not as individual human beings. Christina Pushaw, director of rapid response for the DeSantis re-election campaign, left no doubt that they are mere props.
This is what Joe Biden said about immigrants sent with hoaxes 2:49
“The residents of Martha’s Vineyard should love this. They vote for sanctuary cities and get a sanctuary city of their own. And illegal aliens will add to the diversity of the city, which is the strength. Right?” Pushaw tweeted.
Still, if DeSantis was hoping to highlight hypocrisy among East Coasters on an island packed with vacation homes, he was disappointed. People on Martha’s Vineyard didn’t go “crazy,” as he put it. Instead, they rushed to help. Residents provided food, clothing and shelter, despite having no advance notice from DeSantis about the migrants’ arrival on Wednesday.
“We’ve been through Covid. We’ve been through hurricanes. We’ve been through this. … In each one of them we’ve risen up like the Vineyard, because we’re resilient,” Edgartown Town Manager James Hagerty told Miguel. WABNEWS’s Marquez.
“We take care of our own, we take care of the community, we help people,” he said.
The White House denounces the “cruel” plan to transport migrants
Democrats were quick to take advantage of the cool tactics of DeSantis and Abbott, even at the risk of providing more raw material for the conservative media mill.
“What they’re doing is an illegal move, it’s a political move. And it’s really disrespectful to humanity,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “It’s just cruel.”
David Leopold, general counsel for America’s Voice, an immigration advocacy group, said: “The forcible removal of a civilian population is a crime against humanity. And human trafficking is a serious federal crime in the United States. Both are hallmarks of an anti-democratic totalitarian leader.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns also sensed a sinister political motivation on DeSantis’ part. “He’s basically saying you can take a human life … and put it in the position of becoming a political pawn in someone’s authoritarian game,” Burns said on WABNEWS’s “New Day.”
Although it is clear that these migrants are being used as pawns, the accusations of human trafficking fail to take into account the fact that some migrants welcome the chance to be transported away from border states and deeper into the United States, before dating authorities for immigration and asylum hearings that could take months or even years to come.
But the GOP reaction to the Martha’s Vineyard drama underscored the electric effect it has on the GOP base.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who is running for re-election and once a supporter of comprehensive immigration reform, strongly backed DeSantis.
“Immigration is a federal responsibility, which this administration is failing to meet. A handful of communities and states are bearing the predominant burden of it,” Rubio told reporters. “And so if a migrant voluntarily — which is the case in most of these, not all — if a migrant voluntarily offers to go to another part of the country, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for a state to help them.” .
As Rubio understands, any Republican who wants a future in the party needs to speak tough on immigration. As such, it is unlikely that Abbott and DeSantis’ latest deliveries of immigrants to liberal jurisdictions will be the last of its kind.