The Bizarre Shipping of Asylum Seekers North
As I’m careening toward my fifties, I can recall when nearly all Americans – and especially conservative Americans – welcomed victims of Communist regimes with open arms.
So you can imagine my shock and fury, dear reader, when I saw this from NPR.
About 50 migrants arrived by plane in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., Wednesday on flights paid for by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and that originated in San Antonio, Texas.
The migrants said a woman they identified as “Perla” approached them outside the shelter and lured them into boarding the plane, saying they would be flown to Boston where they could get expedited work papers. She provided them with food. The migrants said Perla was still trying to recruit more passengers just hours before their flight.
Andres Duarte, a 30-year-old Venezuelan, said he had recently crossed the border into Texas and eventually went to a shelter in San Antonio.
“She (Perla) offered us help. Help that never arrived,” Andres said. “Now we are here. We got on the plane with a vision of the future, of making it.” He went on to explain why he boarded the plane with so little information in hand. “Look, when you have no money and someone offers help, well, it means a lot.”
In other words, Governor DeSantis used Florida taxpayers’ money to lure escapees from the Maduro regime in Venezuela (as Gary Fineout reports, the 50 migrants were Venezuelan) and send them miles away from their likely court hearing – and anyone else they might know. It’s morally unconscionable. It’s also politically counterproductive (Miami Herald) – unless the priority is keeping more brown people out of Florida (and Texas, whose Governor has played similar games).
Odds are they thought Martha’s Vineyard would respond with some level of “eeeek!” That’s not what happened (New York Mag).
When the news of the stunt broke, volunteers at Martha’s Vineyard rushed out with pizza, salad, and soup. “People were just showing up (at the church) with food, rice, and beans,” Carla Cooper, head of the Democratic Council of Martha’s Vineyard, said. “When something happens to our island, we come together to help. We are going to take care of these people.”
You would think this response would have humiliated DeSantis, whose imagination had no room for the possibility that anybody could act so humanely.
Of course, you’d be wrong.
Instead, conservative media simply responded as if rich liberals had acted in the way Desantis anticipated. The Federalist gleefully reported that liberals were “melting down” as if they were angry at having to accommodate immigrants, rather than at DeSantis’s abuse of immigrants. It became a “fact” in the conservative media that Martha’s Vineyard was responding to the immigrants with terror…
Now, I know that DeSantis and Abbott have their defenders – actual defenders, not the ones who gleefully cheer Jim Crow tactics to “own the libs” (and can safely be ignored). DeSantis and Abbott tell us this is about putting attention on the “crisis” at the border with Mexico. Assuming they make this argument in good faith, it collapses in the face of reality.
The first thing one has to do is define the problem: why are we supposed to be upset at so many people – especially those escaping tyrants – coming to America? Even the Malthusians among us have to acknowledge that we are facing a serious labor shortage (if you won’t take my word for it, take Heritage‘s). If the concern is national security (despite the Mexican border being among the least likely methods of infiltration), then scrutiny of those looking to come here would be done closer to home. Infantile references to “the law” would be far less laughable if, (1) the same reverence for the law applied to January 6, 2001, (2) the folks most loudly screaming about “illegals” hadn’t spent so much time making legal immigration nearly impossible, and (3) asylum seekers are following the law when they ask for asylum.
The one argument border states have that actually lands is the time and funds required to handle the newcomers. While only Malthusians would assume people are a greater cost than a resource, the short-term cost is real. But do Governors Abbott and DeSantis take their case to federal courts? Not that I’ve seen. Have they made asking for an influx of funds needed to help address the matter a priority? Not from what I’ve seen.
The only thing border state Republicans propose in 2022 is, “KEEP THEM OUT!” That’s a fine slogan, but it’s no solution. In fact, it’s a tell that what really drives this isn’t national security or concern over cost, but nativist racism and White panic.