A conversation* with Governor DeSantis on his trafficking-immigrants-to-Martha's Vineyard strategy
*based on what he has said
I’m against trafficking of migrants.
But luring unsuspecting people onto planes with lies about jobs, housing, and education awaiting them, and then depositing them onto an island off the coast of Massachusetts that’s totally unprepared to receive them, is a form of human trafficking.
The people you’re talking about aren’t American citizens. They have no rights.
Even if they’re not Americans, U.S. law prohibits kidnapping people and moving them across state lines.
I didn’t kidnap them. They’re here illegally!
You don’t know that. Under our laws, these people are entitled to a hearing on whether they’re here legally — just like all the Cuban asylum seekers who for years have arrived in South Florida fleeing communism.
What I’m doing is appropriate and legal! I’m paying for part of it with funds from last year’s American Rescue Plan.
That money was for the COVID-19 health crisis. It isn’t a slush fund for whatever political stunt you dream up.
I’m also using every penny of the $12 million Florida budgeted to relocate migrants. I have a responsibility to the people of Florida to send migrants out of the state!
If you’re responsible for Floridians, why are you picking up people in Texas and transporting them to Massachusetts?
Many of the people who cross the southern border into Texas end up in Florida.
But the law gives federal officials the responsibility for handling immigration, not you.
You don’t know the Constitution. Article 10 gives powers not delegated to the federal government to the States.
No Governor, you don’t know the Constitution. Article 1 gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the states. Neither you nor the state of Florida has the authority to off-load people you don’t want onto other states.
I’m not the only governor doing this!
I know. On Thursday Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent two surprise buses of migrants to Washington, D.C., where they were dropped off near the residence of Vice President Harris carrying all they have in clear plastic trash bags.
And we red-state governors are going to do a lot more!
So Republican governors can’t be bothered with pesky things like laws or the Constitution?
The U.S. immigration and asylum systems are totally broken!
Then why don’t you support fixing them instead of using immigrants as political fodder? Ask Republicans in Congress to stop blocking federal legislation creating paths to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants and to expedite asylum seekers and other legal immigrants.
You don’t understand politics. You have to play hardball.
You don’t understand morality or decency. You’re treating immigrants as if they’re political pawns rather than people. They’re no less people than was your maternal great-great-grandfather Salvatore Storti, who immigrated to the United States from Italy in 1904, or your great-great-grandmother Luigia Colucci, who joined Salvatore in the United States in 1917.
Keep them out of this.
And you’re treating the citizens of blue states as political hostages rather than fellow Americans. But they are no less American than the millions of retirees from blue states who have migrated to Florida, and their children and grandchildren who still live in blue states. We’re all in this together.
No we’re not.
And you’re acting as if governing is a child’s game rather than a pursuit of the common good. But it’s not a game. Our common good has depended on the sacrifices of generations of American service men and women, first responders, teachers, social workers, and public leaders who dedicated their lives to this nation.
I don’t have to listen to your speeches.
Look, I get it: Coping with immigration is difficult. It requires hard thought and hard work.
But you’re giving it neither.
I’m told you have presidential ambitions, Governor. If so, you might start acting like a statesman rather than doing stunts that make you a cynical clown.