20220917 desantis

Ron DeSantis Says He’ll Double Down on Martha’s Vineyard Stunt

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But it’s hardly new. Immigrant scapegoating has a long, ugly history.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, having dominated the past several news cycles by flying Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard without notice—a move his critics depict as a particularly cruel attempt to “own the libs” for political gain—has announced that he’s doubling down.

“We’ve got an infrastructure in place now. There’s going to be a lot more that’s happening,” DeSantis said Friday, according to CNN.

He noted that he plans to use “every penny” of the $12 million that Florida legislators had allocated to relocate migrants. Further flights are “likely,” and he is considering sending migrant buses like those Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey have used to shuttle thousands of asylum seekers to DC, New York City, and other urban Democratic strongholds, leaving officials and nonprofit workers scrambling to accommodate the newcomers.

He might even try and collaborate with Abbott, DeSantis said.

He denied reports, however, that some migrants had been misled about where they were headed and/or what awaited them on the other end—reports that have sparked Twitter accusations of “human trafficking.”

It is unclear, as yet, whether the governors have violated any laws, but their behavior certainly has a sordid history. My colleague Isabela Dias posted a new article today detailing how southern white supremacists used remarkably similar tactics 60 years ago in an attempt to flummox northern liberals. Under false pretenses, they recruited and bused Black southerners and their families north. In that case, the stunt backfired.

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