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Human Trafficker Ron DeSantis Might've Broken The Law With All His Human Trafficking
Lock him up!
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received a standing ovation at a Kansas event Sunday, as rightwingers predictably swooned over his cruel human trafficking stunt last week. "This is a crisis" — of his own making — "and now it's getting a little bit more attention," he said. He added later at a Wisconsin event that the "border is now an issue in these elections,” which is precisely what Republicans want.
While DeSantis travels the country, very much like a presidential candidate, he's breaking fundraising records for his re-election campaign. As of Friday, he's racked up $175.8 million, a new record for a gubernatorial campaign and far exceeding his campaign's goal of $150 million. He's terrible and rightwingers love it. No wonder Donald Trump is reportedly pissed that DeSantis "stole" his shipping humans to Martha's Vineyard "gag." (Trump is lying, as usual. The human rights violation was more likely inspired by a July 26 Tucker Carlson monologue.)
It's as if our current reality is a version of The Dead Zone where after using a baby as a human shield, Martin Sheen's presidential candidate breaks fundraising records, and the New York Times presents baby human shield use as "controversial" but nonetheless a risky gamble that's paid off.
DeSantis seems pretty proud of his supervillain activities and shows no signs of slowing down. Republican politicians are impressed and want in on the cruelty: Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall said he'd asked DeSantis, “How I could get a ticket to drive one of those buses from the border to the Delaware beach?” President Joe Biden is from Delaware, so Republicans think sending vulnerable migrant people there is hilarious, like they're unwanted pizzas you have delivered to someone's house as a prank.
Conn Carroll at the Washington Examiner suggested that "DeSantis’ migrant flight was morally necessary" because "record numbers of migrants are dying at the southern border and Biden wants everyone to ignore it." It was probably Joe Biden who outlawed giving water to migrants. Or ... not?
Republicans have become the attention-seeking activists they've always claimed to loathe. However, the residents of Martha Vineyard aren't celebrities wearing fur at a red carpet event, and these migrants are human beings seeking asylum, not buckets of flour.
Luring people onto a chartered plane under false pretenses and taking them to an entirely different location than they expected feels like a plot from one of the Taken movies. It's not just immoral. It's possibly illegal.
Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar has opened an investigation into whether DeSantis committed a crime with his human trafficking gag.
“Sounds like this San Antonio Sheriff is not messing around…🔥!”
— Wu-Tang Is For The Children (@Wu-Tang Is For The Children) 1663678154
“I believe [the migrants] were preyed upon,” he said, adding that he was working with private attorneys for the migrants, as well as advocacy groups, on the probe. “I believe there is some criminal activity here. But we’re going to keep an open mind.”
He said the migrants were in the U.S. legally and they were “hoodwinked” with promises of jobs and other benefits to make the flight to Massachusetts.
Republicans insist on using the dehumanizing terms "illegal" or "illegal alien," but the Venezuelan migrants are seeking asylum from a brutal regime and are legally permitted to remain in the United States while immigration courts consider their cases. What's not legal, however, is transporting them across state lines under false pretenses.
NPR reported that migrants were told they were going to Boston and would receive "expedited work papers." This was a complete lie. Monday night on Fox News, DeSantis insisted that the flights were “clearly voluntary and all the other nonsense you are hearing is just not true.” DeSantis is a Harvard Law graduate so should understand that whatever forms the migrants signed might not qualify as "true consent."
Popular Information, however, has obtained a brochure that was provided to the migrants who ultimately agreed to the flights. It was provided to Popular Information by Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), a Boston-based legal organization that represents 30 of the migrants. The brochure says that migrants who arrive in Massachusetts will be eligible for numerous benefits, including "8 months cash assistance," "assistance with housing," "food," "clothing," "transportation to job interviews," "job training," "job placement," "registering children for school," "assistance applying for Social Security cards," and many other benefits.
None of this, however, is true.
Justifying his actions, DeSantis said, "If [the migrants] end up coming to Florida, then that's going to impose a lot of cost on the communities ... We're trying to avoid that." He spent $615,000 in state funds to transport these people to Martha's Vineyard. That's $12,300 per migrant, which is significantly more than Florida pays a family of four each year in temporary cash assistance.
DeSantis also claims that Massachusetts "wanted this" because it bills itself as a "sanctuary state," which Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, points out is another lie. The state has eight sanctuary cities — Amherst, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea, Concord, Newton, Northampton, and Somerville — but Martha's Vineyard is not one of them. This is why Tucker Carlson's racist trolling isn't a sound basis for immigration policy.
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