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Martha’s Vineyard — Is it a Political Stunt?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCF chapter.

As a first-generation American whose entire immediate family has traveled to this country under dire circumstances, learning of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ involvement in transporting migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts has left me appalled. Florida is home to a large percentage of the United States’ immigrant population and Miami has a reputation as a hot spot for Latin American immigrants, so seeing people who are coming to this country to seek a better life be treated inhumanely is sickening.

DeSantis has seemingly transported these Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Massachusetts without assuring they would be met with sufficient living conditions. These efforts took an estimated $600,000 in government funds: a fraction of the more than $10 million that DeSantis has allocated for the state budget towards endeavors involving persecuting innocent migrants. Many are labeling Desantis’ decision to transport these 50 migrants as a political stunt, believing it’s an effort to make a public statement in regards to the Biden Administration’s ongoing outlook on immigration. The fact that he chose to send these migrants to a Democratic state such as Massachusetts further supports this idea.

A representative of DeSantis’ administration has now stated that these migrants were only transported to Massachusetts out of their own willingness. Javier Salazar, a Texas sheriff, has officially launched an investigation into the legality behind DeSantis’ decision to move these Venezuelan migrants legally seeking asylum to Martha’s Vineyard. As a result, DeSantis is now being investigated for potentially committing crimes in three states based on these actions. This includes investigation in Florida as it is the location where the plan to move the migrants was formulated and government funds were utilized for their transportation. Later, the migrants were coerced into boarding planes in Texas territory and landed in Massachusetts territory, both of which are potential grounds for charges. 

As a Floridian, this appears to not only be a poor use of our state’s resources but a despicable and inhumane act towards these desperate migrants who came to the United States looking to escape their already terrible misfortune. To see the governor of Florida, someone who is supposed to represent the interests of millions of Hispanic immigrants, do this is saddening.

The topic of immigration continues to be a sticky situation to discuss in the current political climate of the U.S. However, it is deplorable that these migrants were left to fend for themselves after their arrival in Martha’s Vineyard and transported under false pretenses. Based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1990 Migrant Workers Convention, these fifty humans deserve better. Under these sanctions, they should have been treated with similar rights to you and me. These Venezuelan migrants were coming from a country currently riddled in chaos and, like any other migrant or refugee, are entitled to asylum. All of those involved in this incident have the right to seek asylum free from persecution and be protected within the walls of our nation. 

These migrants are now seeking legal action as the Massachusetts community immediately worked to rectify this situation as best they could. As stated by Alianza Americas and the Lawyers for Civil Rights, Desantis did this to “advance a hate-filled agenda” and it was both morally cruel and illegal. Ultimately, I hope the proper steps are taken to remedy the circumstances these migrants have to endure.

Brianna is the Editor in Chief and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus UCF! She is studying English Literature and Political Science at the University of Central Florida. Brianna is a writer and creative focused on creating content and publications that promote empowerment among college individuals. She's a lover of Disney, reading a somewhat excessive number of books a year, any form of art expression, & the oxford comma.