Ron DeSantis in a suit looking worried.
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Time To Log Off
Originally Published: 

Republicans are doing a bad job justifying sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

Time to Log Off is a weekly series documenting the many ways our political figures show their whole asses online.

At this point, I’m hard pressed to think of a way to describe the anti-immigration, overtly xenophobic posturing coming from Republican Governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott beyond “criminally cruel” — itself a grotesquely inadequate encapsulation of Florida and Texas’s ongoing policy of packing vulnerable asylum-seekers onto busses and planes and shipping them off to places like D.C. and New York, for the sole purpose of ... well, I’m not sure what? To score cheap culture war points, I suppose? Certainly it’s not out of any real concern for the human beings who’ve been forced to leave their homes in a desperate attempt at something that even marginally resembles a better life.

This week, however, that cruelty reached a new high (or low) with an abhorrent stunt by DeSantis and co, which saw approximately 50 undocumented migrants hurried onto an airplane, and flown to Martha’s Vineyard, where they were deposited and abandoned without warning, thousands of miles not only from their homes, but from the border-state infrastructure and resources designed to help process their requests for asylum. What the Republican governors did supply was a videographer, allegedly sent on the flight with the migrant families to capture footage of their plight for further conservative propagandizing. All this, the migrants claimed, after they’d been lured onto the flight under patently false pretenses, with officials initially promising them a trip to Boston where they’d receive expedited work papers.

Like I said: “criminally cruel.”

Nevertheless, there are those on the right who have spent the past day not only defending this latest stunt, but celebrating it in the most obnoxious — if pitifully ineffective — ways possible. Like, for instance, this beauty from DeSantis’ Deputy Press Secretary:

I, personally, would not favorably compare my boss to a human trafficking kingpin, but hey, you do you, I guess.

Joining Jeremy was DeSantis’ director of Rapid Responses, hardly a stranger to saying totally bonkers things, herself, who spent the bulk of her Thursday posting stuff like, well, this:

And this:

And this:

Is there an organizing principle here beyond simply being unimaginably cruel and manipulative to a group of the most vulnerable people imaginable? It sure doesn’t look like it. And to give you a sense of what side of history this all shakes out on, consider that Southern conservatives did essentially the exact same thing with “reverse freedom riders” shipped north to ostensibly embarrass liberals during the civil rights movement 75 years ago. So, yeah, DeSantis and Abbott are in some really auspicious company here.

Which isn’t to say that everyone on the right is fully in the bag for this sort of inhumane, legally dubious stunt. Here’s a conservative pundit who has no problem with the morals of using migrants as culture war pawns, but wishes it were more effective is all.

“Bad vibes” indeed!

Ultimately, no matter how much right-wing enthusiasm this gins up, or how much left wing indignation it prompts, there are no real “winners” here — just human beings who have abandoned all they knew in the hopes of finding something better, only to have that humanity stripped away by opportunistic politicians who see them as nothing more than objects to be manipulated and exploited in their grand grievance game. For as much as these conservatives cheering on this sort of cruelty need to log off and take a good hard look at the way they treat other human beings, let’s not lose sight of that truth as well.