Asylum Seekers Paraded about for Political Points

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Asylum Seekers Paraded about for Political Points

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Border state governors ignited a political spectacle this year by shipping human beings from the U.S. border into areas like Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago.[1] The individuals they loaded onto busses had come to the United States from all over the world to seek protection from war, terrorism, starvation, cruel socialist dictators, and natural disasters.[2] They included families with young children.[3] They were dropped off and told to seek the aid of local nonprofits, some of which were not even in the city where they were delivered.[4]

These governors have argued that they are merely shifting the burden of hosting asylum seekers to locations that often embrace immigrants and uphold sanctuary policies.[5] However, while border states see short-term influxes of arriving immigrants, those immigrants typically disperse into the rest of the country, including into all three of the places listed above.[6]

But the border governors’ argument fell completely flat this month when Governor DeSantis of Florida flew roughly 50 Venezuelan asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard, a roughly 90 square mile island off the coast of Massachusetts.[7] The migrants were told they were being taken to Boston but instead were abandoned on an island with no warning or preparation.[8] While Martha’s Vineyard is undoubtedly affluent and local groups were able to provide the migrants with temporary beds and housing, there are no facilities on the island such as USCIS offices or Immigration Courts to hold the interviews or hearings necessary for an asylum case. Therefore, in order to continue their pursuit of lawful status in the United States, the asylum seekers were forced to find a way off the island they were shipped to without consent.

This action by Governor DeSantis was cruel and inhumane. It was clearly not meant to assist legitimate asylum seekers find much needed resources, but to use human beings as props for political theater. Earlier this year, in another act of political farce, DeSantis established November 7th as the “Victims of Communism Day” in Florida to “honor the hundreds of millions of people who have suffered under communist regimes around the world.” [9]  Yet, when faced with Venezuelan asylum seekers hoping to escape the regime of a socialist dictator, he chose to duplicitously ship them to a faraway island to fend for themselves. Very honorable indeed.

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