Republicans Are Pretending Their Cruel Immigrant Dumping Pranks Aren't Blowing Up In Their Faces
There are few things less fun than thinking you are totally going to "own" someone and then have them turn around and not even care. I've been there, which is why I don't even try to do the "passive aggressive" thing anymore. The past week or so, Republican governors have been telling migrants that they are going to be sent to places where there would be jobs and housing waiting for them, only to send them to Martha's Vineyard and Vice President Kamala Harris's house. It's a pretty terrible thing to do — an idea no doubt inspired by the "reverse freedom rides" during the Civil Rights movement, in which conservative governors in the Jim Crow South sent Black people to Hyannis, Massachusetts, telling them that jobs and housing were waiting for them and that the Kennedys would be there to greet them as they got off the bus.
The goal here was obvious — to point out liberal NIMBY hypocrisy on the issue of immigration, to show that the Left is only welcoming to immigrants when those immigrants are in someone else's state. So far, that has not turned out to be the case! And because it's turned out not to be the case, they have been hard at work trying to cobble together the story they want to hear. It's kind of like The Secret. They think if they keep pointing and laughing and saying, "Oh look at all the liberals in their sanctuary cities freaking out!" anyway, that somehow this will come to pass.
Though it's unlikely that anyone who would actually vote for them would even bother checking to see if that, or anything else they said, were actually true.
The 50 or so Venezuelan and Colombian migrants that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (possibly illegally) spent taxpayer money to fly to Martha's Vineyard were told not only that they would have lodging and jobs, but that they were actually being flown to Boston. Which would have made at least some amount of sense given the many lawyers and legal experts in Boston. But rather than freaking out and exposing their own hypocrisy as the GOP had hoped, the residents of Martha's Vineyard rallied to get them food, shelter, and medical care.
Of course, conservatives found one clip of a woman explaining that they would have to find somewhere else for the migrants (who, again, thought they were going to Boston) to live, in order to cry "liberal hypocrisy!"
Martha's Vineyard is an island — a very small island, with only 17,000 year-round residents and a current housing crisis. It is not a place where there are a lot of jobs or homes or a lot of the help these people need. The Black Dog Bakery can only employ so many people. There is, however, help to be had in nearby areas like Boston, where there is a lot of legal help, and in Providence, where the Dorcas International Institute of Rhode Island, a non-profit specifically dedicated to helping immigrants, is located. It is not hypocritical to treat these people like human beings and handle this in a way that is both thoughtful and effective.
Via the Miami Herald:
“Listen, Ron Desantis, one more Venezuelan speaking here,” he said, turning to film the crowd that had come to see the migrants flown by the state of Florida to Martha’s Vineyard and the Episcopalian church where they were now sleeping, eating and praying. “And, well, just grateful for the little prank you pulled on us.”
“You hit a home run.”
About 24 hours after they unwittingly agreed to board private planes to the island, a group of nearly 50 migrants — most, if not all, hailing from Venezuela — remained in limbo Thursday night as volunteer attorneys worked to understand their legal situations.
Migrants in the group said they’d agreed to fly to Massachusetts on the promise of jobs and assistance but didn’t realize they were bound for Martha’s Vineyard. No one on the island knew they were coming and, according to their attorneys, they’d been given falsified U.S. addresses by immigration officials, perhaps ensuring that they’d be deemed in the country illegally.
“They were told there was a surprise present for them, and that there would be jobs and housing awaiting for them when they arrived. This was obviously a sadistic lie,” said Rachel Self, a Boston immigration attorney who was assisting with the migrants’ cases.
Conservatives have also tried to claim "liberal hypocrisy" over the fact that when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent 300 immigrants to Chicago recently, Lori Lightfoot sent some of them to hotels in Burr Ridge, a "Republican suburb." This was likely less "liberal hypocrisy" than it was because the Hampton Inn in Burr Ridge was able to accommodate a large number of people at a reasonable rate.
For the record, Chicago has the second highest population of Mexican-born residents in the country (670,000) after Los Angeles, and the highest number of Polish immigrants (70,000), and while I can't find actual statistics on the number of Ukrainian immigrants here, I do literally live in a neighborhood called "Ukrainian Village" and occasionally shop at the Ukrainian Market down the street, as they have great rye bread and also sell some kind of fugazi Viennetta there.
Abbott also thought he was cute this week sending two busloads of confused, hungry immigrants to Kamala Harris's residence in Washington, DC, but the reaction he'd hoped for never materialized. Volunteers, once again, were upset about how the migrants had been tricked and treated, not that they were there to begin with.
SAMU First Response, one of the groups helping migrants in Washington, was not provided a heads up, according to the group's managing director, Tatiana Laborde."By the time our team got to the migrants, they were very lost," Laborde told CNN late Thursday morning. "(The migrants) didn't understand where they were standing -- this is a very residential area."
"Yes, we are receiving them, but what happened this morning and them being left in the middle of the sidewalk without coordination is what makes this job extremely challenging," Laborde said.The leader of a civil rights organization working with Hispanic Americans also blasted Abbott for the busing on Thursday.
"They were just literally dumped like human garbage in front of the vice president's house. That's un-Christian un-Texan, un-American, and something that should not be allowed," Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, told reporters Thursday afternoon outside Harris' residence.
Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott don't know from doing things in a measured and reasonable way, designed to produce the most good for the most people. All they care about is getting to "own the libs" and prove that we are hypocrites who, deep down, are just as cruel as they are, despite the fact that it would take significantly less effort to just stop being so cruel to begin with.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse