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Republicans Are Trafficking Human Beings for Political Points

Ron DeSantis sent a plane of migrants, including children, to Martha's Vineyard with no warning, while Greg Abbott bused more to Kamala Harris' house.

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Photo: Joe Raedle / guvendemir (Getty Images)

In a gross political stunt Wednesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) ordered a plane to drop off 50 Venezuelan migrants on Martha’s Vineyard to own the libs.

Passengers on the plane told they were going to Boston for job opportunities. No one on the small Massachusetts island was told people were arriving, and there was no plan to feed or house or give medical treatment to the migrants, including children, once they arrived. Officials and volunteers on Martha’s Vineyard sprung into action, housing and feeding the group of people, who reportedly hadn’t eaten since 6 a.m.

Not smart enough to plot his own evil schemes, DeSantis has taken a page from his buddy Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s (R) playbook. Just this morning, two buses full of migrants, sent by Abbott, arrived at Vice President Kamala Harris’ D.C. residence. Abbott has spent his summer vacation bussing migrants to more liberal cities to “pwn Brandon,” or whatever, which has cost the state $12 million dollars. Meanwhile, both governors passionately claim to be “pro-life,” and both have spent the past year making a big show out of protecting children from things like drag brunches, books, and posters of Black heroes in classrooms.

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DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn M. Fenske, told Fox News, “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.” Oh, fuck off, Taryn. Trafficking migrants, some of whom are likely asylum seekers, to a teensy vacation destination during off-season with no heads up to anyone, is a sick exploitative act.

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“There is nothing that DeSantis won’t do, and nobody that he won’t hurt, in order to score political points,” Manny Diaz, Florida’s Democratic Chair, said in a statement.

While politicians take to Twitter to try and gain clout for their pranks or, on the opposing side, condemn such stunts, there are real fucking people being trafficked around the country and met with little to no aid. Mayor Eric Adams said that “every asylum seeker that comes to New York, we are going to get them shelter and support that they need;” and, sure, that’s a charitable sentiment, but these people are going to need more than a photo op with Adams and a cold sandwich. Last month HellGate reported on the city’s inadequate response to migrants being bussed to the city. NYC ICE Watch member Sergio Tupac Uzurim told the outlet, “The mayor has no intention to actually house these people. He wants to hand out a meal, and then send them on their way.”

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In its off-season, Martha’s Vineyard has a population of about 17,000 people. During the warmer months, that number grows to 200,000. You know what also has a population of 200,000 people? Florida’s seasonal working migrant community, who farm 90% of our country’s winter tomatoes. I could argue that Florida sure appreciates these migrants when they’re working for them, but the slave-labor conditions they are subjected to while doing so would prove me wrong. Similarly, undocumented immigrants make up 8% of Texas’ workforce, the highest percentage of any state. Be it for their economic gain or political stunts, Republicans get a lot of mileage out of exploiting migrants. Democrats are quick to denounce their opponents’ theatrics, only to construct their own with hollow promises of supplying migrants with aid.

Mutual aid groups like NYC ICE are the ones actually assisting trafficked migrants, who are being passed around like a Smirnoff Ice at a frat party. Now, in Martha’s Vineyard, residents and local churches are feeding and housing the migrants before they likely are relocated to a town that can actually accommodate them. As politicians dramatically recite soliloquies of compassion or justice, citizen groups are on the ground making sure migrants’ basic needs are met.