Sunday night, I sat in the ballroom of a Miami resort and watched Florida governor Ron DeSantis tell the crowd about how Texas governor Greg Abbott had been sending busloads of illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C. His envy was undisguised. Stunts like this, which use humans as props for a set piece about owning the libs, are the trademark of his own governing style. (He has done this with ex-felons, splashily arresting 20 and charging them with fraud.) You could almost see the wheels turning in his head.
Last night, DeSantis pulled off the stunt. He lured a couple dozen immigrants onto a pair of planes and flew them to Martha’s Vineyard, where he deposited them onto an unprepared island. He then handed the story to Fox News, a network that has coordinated closely with him and predictably gloated over his latest triumph.
The conceit of Abbott’s stunt is that his state is so overwhelmed with illegal immigrants he needs to send them to the place that is supposedly causing their arrival. DeSantis, not having a land border with Mexico, had no such pretext. Instead, he had to find immigrants in Texas and, essentially, kidnap them for his own use.
To acquire the bait for his stunt, DeSantis apparently deployed staff into Texas to mislead the targets. “The migrants said a woman they identified as ‘Perla’ approached them outside the shelter and lured them into boarding the plane, saying they would be flown to Boston where they could get expedited work papers,” reports NPR. [Continue reading…]