The pictures are hard to look at. Images of bewildered looking men and women and children, even, shipped off to posh Martha’s Vineyard and dropped off outside the gates of the U.S. Naval Observatory that is home to Vice President Kamala Harris.
Some are carrying all that they have in garbage bags. Most had no idea where they were, having been herded onto airplanes and assured they were headed to Boston where they could find jobs and help.
Strangers in an exceedingly strange land.
The stunt was all the rage on Fox News and the subject of high fives among Republicans from sea to shining sea. Red-state governors, sticking it to those liberal elitists.
“If they refuse to go to the border, bring the border to them,” Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs tweeted.
It's surprising that Ducey isn't in on this
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis kicked off the big joke on Wednesday, luring 50 mostly Venezuelan adults and children outside a San Antonio, Texas, shelter onto planes, assuring them they’d be taken someplace where they could get help as they awaited their asylum pleas to be heard.
Imagine their surprise to land on a small island playground for the rich, dumped, unannounced, at the airport with no one to meet them and no one even to tell them where they were.
Next up, courtesy of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, came 100 or so Venezuelans dropped not at the Washington D.C. shelter set up to receive them but several miles away at the gates of Vice President Kamala Harris' residence.
I’m only surprised that Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who also has been busing immigrants to D.C., didn’t get in on this week’s comedy routine.
Do shipping containers work?: Ducey says they're an effective border tool
DeSantis, gearing up for his presidential run, seemed quite proud of his stunt to stick it to the Democrats.
“We are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures,” DeSantis said on Thursday. “Every community in America should be sharing in the burdens. It shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states.”
Never mind, apparently, that the immigrants in question here weren’t even in Florida.
GOP has a point. But why treat people like props?
Still, DeSantis is correct about a couple of things.
The border is being overrun, and the Biden administration continues to be in denial about the scope of the problem.
It doesn’t help when you have a vice president who goes on “Meet the Press” to assure us the border is secure. (“The border is secure, but we also have a broken immigration system, in particular, over the last four years before we came in, and it needs to be fixed.")
But to treat these people as props? To score cheap political points off their plight?
Arizona Republican Party Chairwoman Kelli Ward was clearly delighted. She retweeted: “Why is Martha’s Vineyard so upset about becoming enriched by diversity?"
So was Biggs.
“Busing illegal aliens to Barack Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard and Kamala Harris’ residence in Wasington had to happen,” he tweeted. “Democrat leaders must step down from their ivory towers and get with reality. Our nation is facing an invasion and it requires acknowledgement and action.”
Speaking of getting with reality, what really should be required of our leaders is an acknowIedgment of why people are flooding the border – the reasons they are willing to make the dangerous, often fatal trek to America.
Not all migrants are drug dealers, rapists
Kari Lake’s plan, should she become Arizona's next governor, is to declare them invaders and send them packing, ignoring the fact that they have the legal right to seek asylum.
Wouldn’t it be nice for Republicans to acknowledge that right, then work with Democrats to fix the clearly broken immigration system, to streamline the process and eliminate the court backlogs that result in immigrants being freed into the country to wait literally years for their asylum hearings?
Wouldn’t it be nice for Democrats, similarly, to acknowledge that a border fence is not an act of racism, that it is reasonable to try to control who and what comes into our country?
And for all of us to acknowledge that these people are not “aliens”? They are not, as Kari Lake would have you believe, all drug dealers and rapists and criminals.
Mostly, they’re just human beings, doing as you or I would certainly do were we unlucky enough to have been born in their shoes.
Instead, they're folks like Andres and Yesica
They are like people like Andres Duarte. The 30-year-old Venezuelan told NPR he recently crossed the border into Texas and was staying at a shelter in San Antonio. He was among the 50 people DeSantis dumped in Martha’s Vineyard.
He, like others, told reporters that a woman approached him outside of the Texas shelter and offered to take him someplace where he could get help.
“We got on the plane with a vision of the future, of making it … ,” he told a reporter. “Look, when you have no money and someone offers help, well, it means a lot.”
People like Yesica, who was too afraid to offer her last name.
“I don’t know what is going to happen to us,” she said, speaking in Spanish. “The truth is, I am worried. It will be whatever God wishes, no? We’re here now and there’s nothing we can do.”
Yeah, DeSantis and his pals were just laughing about that.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: DeSantis pulled a cheap stunt with migrants in Martha's Vineyard