Evidently, another governor is always hungry for the praise and attention of the right-wing ecosystem. So, last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) giddily took credit for an escalation of the tactic: picking up a group of migrants and plunking them down on the politically liberal island of Martha’s Vineyard. That’s right, libs!
And, you know: Take that, asylum seekers fleeing the dictatorial regime in Venezuela who arrived in the United States, who appear to have been legally allowed to remain in the country and who, despite offering no indication of planning to go to Florida, suddenly found themselves on a small island off the Massachusetts coast without access to any of the resources they’d been promised!
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That aspect of DeSantis’s stunt, how it affected actual human beings, has often been glossed over in the coverage. Fox News paid attention to him; the network featured him and migrants on average almost nine times per day last week. The impact on the migrants was often limited in the form of interviews or presentations by lawyers and advocates.
However, many of these migrants will be returning to the country on Tuesday. Filled suitFlorida and DeSantis for conceiving a “premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme”It was designed to exploit their vulnerability in order to win a political victory. It describes how migrants were recruited, what they were promised, and how those promises were not fulfilled.
The lawsuit’s description of the ploy is clearly aimed at winning a judgment against DeSantis, but it comports with other news accounts. A woman identifying herself to be “Perla”People were approached by migrant shelter workers (of which there are many in San Antonio). They were offered McDonald’s gift cards in exchange for signing documents that were not fully translated into Spanish.
As recruiters tried to find enough migrants to fill two airplanes, those who were willing to travel elsewhere were taken in by local hotels. “so that they could not discuss the arrangement and reveal Defendants’ inhumane scheme to any true Good Samaritans, and so that the class members would be less likely to leave or change their minds since they were being provided free housing while they waited,”The lawsuit states.
The migrants learned they were headed to Martha’s Vineyard once on the plane, the lawsuit states. They were given folders containing material, including a brochureWith misleading and inaccurate information regarding the resources available to them on arrival. The migrants were allegedly told by those orchestrating the flights that they had no resources. “if the individual Plaintiffs and other class members were willing to board airplanes to other states, they would receive employment, housing, educational opportunities, and other like assistance at their arrival.” That didn’t occur; in fact, there’s no indication that anyone in Massachusetts was informed that the migrants were en route.
Importantly, the lawsuit indicates that the three plaintiffs had surrendered to the authorities after arriving in the United States. This is a standard practice: Many migrants enter the country to seek asylum. However, claims must be made in America. If the plaintiffs are seeking asylum under the Venezuelan regime, they can remain in the United States until their cases are heard. (A questionTo the plaintiffs’ attorneys about possible claims did not receive a response by the time of publication.)
Since reports of the migrants’ arrival on Martha’s Vineyard first emerged, DeSantis and his allies have commonly justified the move as politically warranted, the transfer of “illegal immigrants” to “sanctuary” jurisdictions comporting with a funding measure passed as part of Florida’s annual budget this year. This is the defense broadly. Florida had money to move these immigrants to other locations, and DeSantis did.
It’s just that, again, the migrants appear to have had authorization to remain in the United States. And that they were being dispatched only indirectly from Florida. And that was just the beginning. “sanctuary” jurisdictions don’t promise what DeSantis’s defenders claim. And that DeSantis himself admits that Florida doesn’t have much of an issue with being overwhelmed by newly arrived migrants.
As Politico reportedTuesday saw $12 million allocated to the state budget for the authorization of the removal of migrants. “facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”The flights originated in Texas, not Florida. Crestview, Fla. was where the planes stopped. It takes less than an hour on their way to Martha’s Vineyard, perhaps in an effort to fulfill the stipulation that they be removed from the state.
Why not take people from Florida instead? DeSantis AnsweredTuesday
“The problem is, is we’re not seeing mass movements of them into Florida,”He said. “So you end up with a car with maybe two.”
This is a problem if you want to be praised by Fox News for sending illegal immigrants to blue states to troll. He would later add that a third of those arriving in Texas planned to head to Florida — a claim that seems hard to substantiate — so “if you can do it at the source and divert to sanctuary jurisdictions, the chance they end up in Florida is much less.”
He and his allies repeatedly invoked the idea that they are shutting people down. “sanctuary”Locations can be used to indicate that cities or states have passed “sanctuary”Some measures were willing to house and work with immigrants.
“They said they wanted this,” he told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Monday. “They said they were a sanctuary jurisdiction.”
That’s not what “sanctuary”It is commonly understood to refer to: (There is no precise definition. There are two types of sanctuary states: cities and states that promise not to inform federal authorities if they discover that someone is in the country without proper documentation. There’s a very practical reason for this: If immigrants think talking to police will result in their deportation, they won’t talk to police. This makes it much more difficult to solve crimes.
Oh, also? Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t have a sanctuary statute.
Unlike cities in Texas, robust systems also don’t exist on the island to accommodate newly arrived migrants gracefully (though, by most accounts, residents scrambled to do so). This is a key aspect of the scheme that is often overlooked. Places like San Antonio have a greater capacity for immigrants than small islands on the Eastern Seaboard. Yes, these resources are being stretched. But there’s a difference between straining an existing system and having no system in place at all.
All evidence suggests that DeSantis was aware of Abbott’s attention and decided to use the funding available for migrants. Perhaps he took a cue form Abbott. Fox News host, he signed off on a plan that the new lawsuit alleges involved misleading migrants to shuttle them from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard — with a stopover in Florida to make the whole thing kosher.
Yanet is one plaintiff in the lawsuit. According to the lawsuit, Yanet arrived in the United States two months ago after fleeing Venezuela with her husband and son. They were held for six days before being released. A check-in with authorities is scheduled for next month.
“Upon arrival in Martha’s Vineyard, Plaintiff Yanet Doe felt helpless, defrauded, and desperate,”The suit claims. “She started crying. She felt anxious and confused.”
DeSantis did get some media attention.