Lawyers representing asylum seekers who were allegedly “tricked” into going from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard on flights funded by Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration said Wednesday they are seeking a nationwide injunction to block the governor from luring immigrants to travel across state lines.
Transporting consenting migrants who have the paperwork to be in the U.S. is legal. But certain factors – like DeSantis’ intent and knowledge of the migrants’ immigration status – could create potential civil and criminal liability.
Governors Greg Abbott in Texas and Ron DeSantis in Florida are following the playbook of segregationists who provided one-way bus tickets to Northern cities for Black Southerners in the 1960s. At that time, the fight for racial equality was attracting national attention and support from many white Americans, inspiring some to join interracial Freedom Rides organized by civil rights groups.
The flights Wednesday mostly involved Venezuelan migrants and included about 10 children. Two planes went from San Antonio, Texas, to the Florida Panhandle community of Crestview before going north.
What historian Arthur Schlesinger had detected in 1992 in a few trends is now orthodoxy–from both sides, neither for the better. The “ethnic rage” of diversity-preaching liberals and the fundamentalist, doctrinaire “monoculturalism” of conservatives has the country in a state of paralysis. Schlesinger wanted a renewed melting pot. But that’s not the solution.
Gov. Ron DeSantis wants the Legislature to give him $8 million to ship asylum seekers transported by the Biden administration into Florida off to other states in an expanding initiative against what the governor inaccurately calls President Joe Biden’s “open borders policy.” Republicans’ overall complaint vastly distorts Biden’s policy, according to an analysis published by the libertarian Cato Institute.
The capacity of private American citizens to resettle refugees is large and untapped. It may even bridge the divide over immigration in the United States. Now is the time for Biden to ask the American people to invite homeless and war-ravaged Afghan refugees into their homes and their communities.
Behind huge numbers of migrants are individual children, many of whom have suffered from repeated trauma. Legally, the U.S. is obligated to care for these children from the moment they arrive until they turn 18, according to carefully defined procedures.
Reminding Americans of where they came from – such as the statements by Biden administration officials – creates empathy for immigrants, generating more favorable attitudes toward immigration.
Earlier this month Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly took part in a fact-finding trip along the Texas side of the border with Mexico with several other law enforcement officials and U.S. Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla. “The border crisis,” he argues, “is coming to you whether you like it or not.”