by A. Altieri D’Angelo
The “They ” referred to above are the Republican Governors of Florida, Texas, and Arizona: Ron DeSantis (Fla), Greg Abbott (Tex.), and Doug Ducey (Ariz.). and their MAGA Republican supporters. These Governors have decided to use people seeking asylum in the U.S as props to enhance their political careers. (Many people expect DeSantis and Abbott to seek the nomination of the Republican Party (the Party) for President of the U.S. in 2024.)
Maga Republicans celebrated their actions, and the rest of the Party stayed silent. It only shows how much the Party’s moral values have declined. Republicans who remained silent disgraced themselves.
Governor DeSantis arranged to have @50 Venezuelan refugees, who were held in Texas, flown to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. The Governor used Florida state funds to ship these people to Massachusetts, but they were not in Florida at the time of departure. It was a heartless political stunt.
DeSantis’s representatives lied to the migrants about their final destination. Dozens of migrants had been told they would land in Boston but found out the flight would land in Martha’s Vineyard en route. The migrants were informed that there was a surprise present for them and that they would be entitled to jobs and housing.
The authorities in Edgartown (the Martha’s Vineyard county seat and old whaling port) had no warning of the migrant’s arrival. No one was at the airport to greet the refugees. They had to walk several miles to find help. Upon realizing what had happened, the entire community came out and rendered assistance. They provided food, clothing, and places to sleep.
Governor DeSantis justified the abandonment of these people by saying he wanted to make a point that all U.S. communities should share the burden of dealing with illegal entry on the southern border of the U.S. But in reality, it was a cruel and un-American thing to do.
Governor Abbott and Ducey have also shipped migrants to various U.S. cities over the last few months. Abbott recently sent two busloads of migrants to Washington D.C. The migrants were dropped off near the residence of Vice President Harris, carrying all they had in clear plastic trash bags. They were purposely stranded. Fortunately, the authorities were alerted and provided aid.
Republicans generally believe that since the migrants are illegal aliens, they have no rights. Therefore, it is appropriate to treat them as some form of property that can be picked up and dropped off anywhere in the country. They (MAGA Republicans) forget these are real people who have inalienable rights regardless of their country of origin. Also, one must ask if DeSantis and Abbott would have treated illegal migrants from Ukraine, Norway, Germany, or any other white, blue-eyed country like the Venezuelans. The answer is no.
What is also interesting is that the U.S. fought a civil war in 1861-1865 over slavery; slavery treated people as property. Yet here we are in 2022, doing the same thing. And the three states mistreating migrants were part of the same Confederacy that sought to keep slavery in place; this is depressing but true.
There is no doubt the U.S. immigration system is dysfunctional. The system’s weaknesses demonstrate the failure of the House of Representatives and Senate to implement desperately needed changes. The current process suffers from a backlog of cases, a significant increase in migrant applications for asylum, and poor resourcing-particularly under President Trump. The Republicans, however, do not want to deal with immigration reform. But that does not stop an unscrupulous MAGA politician (Governor DeSantis) from using migrants fleeing persecution to bolster his upcoming campaign.
The Governors of the border states have every right to complain about the current process. The system must be dramatically improved and better resourced. Although the Administration has been sending migrants from the border states to other parts of the U.S., the number of illegal crossings continues to climb. Arrests by U.S. authorities are at an all-time high. The border states are being overwhelmed.
However, despite the shortcomings of the current immigration system, no one, particularly prominent politicians such as Abbot and DeSantis, should be allowed to treat human beings in such a shabby manner. We must respect migrant rights if we wish to remain a free people.
It remains to be seen if the Party will suffer for its support of the cruel treatment of the Venezuelan refugees. Polls show that Republicans are against immigration. But most Americans believe immigration is a positive thing for the country and are sympathetic to the plight of refugees. The Party’s support for DeSantis and Abbott’s actions could create a political backlash in the November 2022 and 2024 elections.
The Party’s values continue to decline. It is no longer recognizable as the Party of Lincoln. It is a sad spectacle to watch.