Ron DeSantis, the GOP governor of Florida, is suspected of involvement in another stunt involving the deceptive transport of immigrants to far-flung locales. This time, the affected people were transported to Sacramento, California, which is that state’s capital.
On an infamous occasion from recent memory, DeSantis’s team led the transport of groups of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a community in Massachusetts known for both its wealth and its liberal political leanings. In that incident, which mirrored relocations undertaken by other Republican officials, no prior arrangements were seemingly made to ensure care for those on the journey, and suspicions very quickly arose of outright deception targeting those joining the trip about the prospects for assistance they had. The trips haven’t been forced, but joining the journeys that have been documented has been an idea targeted at vulnerable people, sometimes — like in the Martha’s Vineyard case — without even notifying locals that these people in need would be arriving.
The charades amount to dangerous attempts to use real people’s plight for what amount to political points, as Republicans keep trying to depict the situation at the southern border as some kind of unfolding disaster, deceptively characterizing the scene. The border is not “open,” and there is no “invasion” — but there are individuals fleeing sometimes dangerous conditions, many of whom seek to rely on the established legal pathway of seeking asylum in trying to stay in the United States. Yet, another high-profile incident involved migrants originating in Texas under GOP Governor Greg Abbott being transported to outside the vice presidential residence in D.C. — and dropped off in sub-freezing temperatures.
California officials were quick to point at DeSantis as seemingly behind the Sacramento incident. “@RonDeSantis you small, pathetic man,” Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic governor, said recently on Twitter with an accompanying image of a description of one of the scenarios that could lead to criminal charges of kidnapping. “This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. Kidnapping charges?” Rob Bonta, the attorney general of California, also used the “kidnapping” language.
“Today I met with over a dozen migrants who were brought to Sacramento by private plane, with no prior arrangement or care in place,” Bonta said. “We are investigating the circumstances by which these individuals were brought to California. We are also evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants. While this is still under investigation, we can confirm these individuals were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida. While we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting.”