I sometimes wonder if Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is having second thoughts about branding himself as an imitation Trump.
If not, he ought to be.
The governor’s latest stunt was to send two plane loads of Venezuelan refugees to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts in an effort to demonstrate northern liberal hypocrisy about immigration policies.
It got him lots of headlines and photos of DeSantis surrounded by happy followers cheering his owning of the “libs.”
But then. . .
First, it turned out the refugees weren’t being removed from Florida at all. They were recruited in San Antonio, Texas, and promised that in Massachusetts they would be offered expedited employment visas, eight months of cash assistance, housing and all sorts of other goodies.
So, why were they recruited in San Antonio?
DeSantis had an answer. He was deflecting them before they could move to Florida. The plane charters, paid for with Florida taxpayer dollars, were his version of President Trump’s “wall.”
Well, that was his story and he was sticking to it. The Florida legislature gave him $12 million to export illegal aliens (so long as they didn’t come from Cuba) and he was going to export them, even if he had to raid Texas to do it.
Then, of course, the embarrassment to the liberals didn’t work as planned either. The people of Martha’s Vineyard quickly provided the refugees with a warm welcome. The state’s Republican governor arranged other safe places for them. Rather than being exposed as hypocrites, Massachusetts rose to the occasion.
Also, as it turns out, the refugees weren’t “illegal” after all.
People fleeing persecution in other countries have a legal right to seek asylum in the United States. They might not be granted asylum, but they have a legal right to seek it.
At least some of those flown to Martha’s Vineyard were in San Antonio because they had appointments with the immigration services there to register their appearance in the U.S. and become part of the legal system.
Of course, if they are transported hundreds of miles away they might not be able to keep those appointments and could then, I guess, be considered “illegal.”
In the meantime, the former president has denounced the Florida governor for “stealing my plans.”
Donald Trump built his electoral success on dehumanizing and terrorizing millions of men and women whose major sin was seeking an opportunity to find safety and opportunity in the United States.
It seems like an easy role model for those who wish to supplant him.
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