DeSantis sends migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

In a widely criticized political stunt, the Florida governor relocates nearly 50 migrants to the summer colony.

Citizens of famed Massachusetts resort town Martha’s Vineyard got quite a surprise on Sept. 14 when nearly 50 migrants arrived unexpectedly. After much confusion, Florida governor Ron DeSantis came forward to claim responsibility for the unannounced move. The event has been widely criticized by both Republicans and Democrats, and rightly so.

Relocating migrants is not a new policy by Republican governors, but this stunt is particularly egregious in that DeSantis facilitated a move of migrants from Texas to Massachussettes, both states of which he is not the governor. He also used funds belonging to the Florida state government.

Part of DeSantis’ plan surely was to sit back and laugh as the liberal elites that frequent Martha’s Vineyard turned away the migrants in a show of hypocrisy. Unfortunately for him, he failed to consider that it is the offseason for eastern seaboard vacationing, and the town only consisted of its year-round residents. The offseason population is only around 17,000, while during the summer the population can swell to as many as 200,000 coastal elites. In either case, the 48 migrants that DeSantis plopped on the island would not exactly overwhelm the population. And, in fact, it didn’t. The residents of Martha’s Vineyard sprang into action, feeding the migrants and calling in authorities to relocate them to temporary housing. The migrants, mostly from Venezuela, eventually ended up at a nearby military base.

From the beginning, it seemed fairly obvious these migrants were not aware that they were being relocated, despite DeSantis claiming that they had all consented. Reportedly, the “consent form” they signed was only partially translated into Spanish, leaving mentions of transportation and Massachussettes unreadable to most of the migrants. A class action lawsuit has since been filed on their behalf.

In addition to the lawsuit, a sheriff in Texas has officially opened an investigation into the actions of DeSantis, which ultimately cost Florida taxpayers $1.5 million.

It is worth noting that these migrants were no longer classified as illegal. In fact, many of them had court dates to continue on their immigration journey, which are now at stake due to Ron DeSantis’ political theater. This stunt seems cruel even for him. These migrants came to the United States seeking the best country in the world, as conservatives describe it. And why shouldn’t they? The idea that America is the “best country in the world,” however false, is touted far and wide by politicians; yet when people of color decide to be a part of that idea, they become political pawns. While it is widely accepted that some migrants must be relocated from where they originally immigrated to, this action was not taken in any sort of official capacity, with no oversight from the federal government.This type of action by Republican governors is not new, nor will it likely disappear anytime soon.

Democrats and Republicans seem completely deadlocked on the issue of immigration, so until a compromise is reached, these kinds of political stunts will likely not stop. This cannot be the greatest country on earth if political officials kidnap migrants at will.

Post Author: Victoria Grossman