With shameful Martha’s Vineyard stunt, DeSantis dishes out cruelty with a smirk

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ latest stunt to embarrass President Joe Biden — in advance hopes of replacing him in the Oval Office — was to dump immigrants stopped at the Southern border in a fancy community in New England that was not expecting or prepared to house them.

What a hoot, political supporters say. What a clever maneuver, governor. Actually, it’s as clever as it is cruel.


DeSantis is using and humiliating vulnerable human beings, people who risked their lives to escape their homeland for America, to make a political point — and further his presidential ambitions. After all, he couldn’t buy better press nationwide.

In a statement, the governor explained his actions: “States like Massachusetts, New York and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden administration’s open-border policies.”

Florida, he said, will not tolerate it.

Enter this insulting relocation, cranked into gear Wednesday and financed by a state where hundreds of thousands of immigrants have found refuge since the 1960s and where they have led, and continue to lead, productive lives.

The first group of some 50 refugees in the offensive program had their flights to Massachusetts paid for out of Florida’s $12 million allotment to scare away undocumented immigrants, approved by the Legislature this year. Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez alluded to the program several weeks ago in a radio show, creating a backlash in Miami, home to so many immigrants from Cuba, Venezuela, Colombia and Nicaragua, when she touched the third rail and said that Cubans, too, would be shipped North.

Let’s hope that backlash turns into pure outrage that Florida is joining Texas and Arizona in using human beings as pawns for political gain. It seems no coincidence that these immigrants were dropped into a swanky community where Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama own property.

The stunt is generating national coverage for the governor. Photos show the immigrants, including families and children, being greeted by surprised townspeople. The Vineyard had no idea these immigrants were coming. Martha’s Vineyard News reported the community had to scramble to open a church to house the refugees — more mercy shown there than the received in Florida.

How cruel to put any human beings in such a predicament.

These immigrants had no idea they were political pawns. It appears that at the border, once paroled, they were told by Florida border officials sent there that they would be given housing and jobs and food in a sanctuary city, but not in Florida.

At a Thursday news conference in Niceville in Florida’s Panhandle, a smug DeSantis said those favoring sanctuary communities would get a taste of their own medicine.

“Florida is more than happy to facilitate transport to those areas,” he said.

Every immigrant in Florida should remember the pain of their first days in America. How heartbreaking it would have been to be used as a pawn by a heartless politician.

— The Miami Herald Editorial Board

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