New analysis breaks down the disturbing nature of DeSantis' immigration stunt
A new analysis offers an in-depth look at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) recent highly criticized immigration stunt.
Last week, the Republican governor made headlines when he flew more than 50 Venezuelan asylum seekers to Martha's Vineyard after they were reportedly told they'd be transported to Boston, Massachusetts.
In the analysis published by The Bulwark, Linda Chavez — a senior fellow at the National Immigration Forum who also worked in the White House as the director of public liaison under the Reagan administration — offered a brief overview of everything that transpired last week.
Although she noted that DeSantis has been praised by the Trump-aligned voter base, she also explained why the stunt may backfire on him.
"DeSantis’s action scored him points among the Trumpian base of the GOP nationally, but it may backfire with his own state’s Venezuelan-origin population, who skewed Republican in 2020," Chavez wrote.
"The stunt seems particularly ironic given Republican Spanish-language ads in the last election that directly appealed to Venezuelan- and Cuban-American voters by depicting Joe Biden as an ideological comrade of Hugo Chávez, Nicolás Maduro, and Fidel Castro and Donald Trump as a champion of freedom," she added.
Chavez went on to breakdown the real issue with DeSantis' actions. "This is a point that must be emphasized: The Venezuelans whom DeSantis flew to Martha’s Vineyard were in the United States seeking asylum," she wrote. "They followed U.S. law. They are not 'illegal aliens.'”
Chavez also explained how DeSantis may have knowingly deceived the members of the Venezuelan community. "Most of Florida’s growing Venezuelan community — which included more than 75,000 eligible voters in 2018 — fled their homeland when its Communist-sympathizing leaders Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro destroyed the country’s petroleum-dependent economy and its democratic institutions. Some 6 million people have fled Venezuela, most to neighboring countries, in the wake of government crackdowns, inflation that exceeds 1,000 percent, and government-induced poverty that is the worst in Latin America," she wrote.
"Donald Trump even contemplated U.S. military intervention against Maduro to end the crisis, according to his former national security advisor John Bolton," Chavez added. "DeSantis surely knows this, yet he cynically lured Venezuelans who made the 3,000-mile trip through ten countries seeking refuge in the United States onto chartered planes with promises of jobs and free housing."
According to Chavez, there may have also been another element to add to the deception. "Some may have been handed a brochure, deceptively designed to look like an official publication of the Massachusetts government," she wrote, "and dishonestly detailing benefits to refugees that are unavailable to asylum seekers."
While Republicans have politicized immigration to benefit their campaigns, Chavez insists there "has to be a better way."
"Unfortunately, anti-immigration animus drives most Republican politicians today," she explained. "A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center shows that almost 8 in 10 Republican and Republican-leaning voters see deporting illegal immigrants as a top priority, and GOP governors like DeSantis, Greg Abbott (Texas), and Doug Ducey (Arizona) invoke this antipathy even when the people they are targeting—like the Venezuelan asylees DeSantis used as props—aren’t actually illegally in the country."