It’s been all over the news — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently shipped 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in his attempt to (choose one): a) Make a political statement about immigration; b) Shore up his standing among his base as he prepares to run for president in 2024; c) Own the libs. It was most certainly a grand stunt of political theater, and it made headlines around the world.

There is a point, however, that so many missed. The Texas/Venezuela pawns in DeSantis’ game aren’t just chess pieces on a board — these are actual human beings with dreams and families of their own. These migrants are here legally as refugees of a corrupt socialist regime, waiting for their day in American court. Enter DeSantis Airways, whose helpful minions persuaded 50 human beings at a Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio to board a plane, with the promise of housing, jobs and a future in Boston. DeSantis chartered a plane, flew the migrants first to Florida, and then to the vacation island of Martha’s Vineyard, some 100 miles from Boston. While no housing or jobs awaited the arriving Venezuelans, the people of Martha’s Vineyard were welcoming and showed more simple basic humanity than many officials did in their treatment of these people. 

It now appears that DeSantis may have violated the law, as the enabling legislation to fund migrant transfers purportedly doesn’t cover transporting migrants from another state. Regardless of the legality, the governor spent $615,000 in Florida taxpayer dollars to take migrants from Texas to Massachusetts under false pretenses — not a nice, Christian thing to do.

This kind of tactic is reminiscent of the Reverse Freedom Rides of the 1960s. In response to the similarities between the Freedom Rides and the DeSantis Vineyard Tours, the John F. Kennedy Library tweeted: “To embarrass Northern liberals and humiliate Black people, southern White Citizens Councils started their so-called ‘Reverse Freedom Rides,’ giving Black people one-way tickets to northern cities with false promises of jobs, housing, and better lives.” Sound familiar, Governor Ron?

Regardless of how one feels about our nation’s immigration policy, it doesn’t give anyone the right to treat other human beings as mere tokens on an immigration game board. There is a small but vocal and virulent number of people who believe that, because they were born here, they are entitled to more and better human rights than those from elsewhere. While America can’t be the only solution to the suffering that exists around the world, we need real solutions, not irresponsible and expensive political stunts. DeSantis and his cohort, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, seem so proud of themselves, sniggering about their “achievements” at their recent press conferences, and coming off like playground bullies.

Most people would agree that America needs to take a serious look at our immigration policy. One thing for certain: leaders of both political parties have screwed the pooch and kicked this can down the road for decades. At times in our past when we have come close to bipartisan solutions, extremists howl and the compromise falls apart. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was a vocal proponent of immigration reform for years. As a member of the Gang of Eight, Graham and this bipartisan group of senators championed a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as well as solutions for reducing visa backlogs. Today, because of political pressure, this senator has totally flip-flopped. He now complains about migrants and opposes everything he used to support. It’s no wonder we can’t ever get anything done in D.C.

It’s sad that many people who approve of the mistreatment of immigrants identify as Christians. For them, and for those who try and live by these principles, I’ll close with a couple of Bible verses that tackle this concept head-on. Leviticus 19:34: “The foreigner who resides with you must be to you like a native citizen among you; so you must love him as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt.” And James 2:1-4: “How can you claim to have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people over others?” 

How indeed, Governor Ron?

(Editor’s note: The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Keys Weekly.)

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Very few towns or cities could ever claim that their Mayor was a smokin' hot guitar player. The island city of Marathon in the Florida Keys is one of those towns. While politics is a temporary call to service, music is a life sentence. John Bartus, a more-than-four-decade full-time professional musician, singer, and songwriter, continues to raise the bar with his groundbreaking solo acoustic show. It’s easy to catch John on one of his more than 200 shows a year throughout the Keys on his Perpetual Island Tour. His CD releases include After The Storm, Keys Disease 10th Anniversary Remaster, and Live From the Florida Keys Vol. 2. John’s music is available wherever you download or stream your music.