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Why Doesn’t DeSantis Ship Cuban Refugees to Martha’s Vineyard?




Photo illustration by Thomas Levinson / The Daily Beast / Getty

Photo illustration by Thomas Levinson / The Daily Beast / Getty

The 15 Cuban refugees whose makeshift boat happened to land on Florida’s largest nude beach on Labor Day would be suited to “unauthorized aliens” for Governor Ron DeSantis to put on two chartered planes he had flown to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Had some of those 15 been on board, DeSantis would likely have filled both 30-seat Fairchild Dornier 328 jets among the 100 other Cuban refugees who arrived over the May Day holiday. And if DeSantis wants to go ahead with his threat to fly and move more “unauthorized aliens” to “safe haven countries,” he can recruit among the 1,300 who have arrived directly from Cuba to his state since last October. This number is more than 600 percent higher than last year.

But Florida Governor Janet Nunez caused a political furore in August when she suggested on a radio show that Florida might move newly arrived Cuban refugees from Florida to Delaware, the home state of President Joe Biden.

So, rather than dismaying Florida’s massive Cuban-American community, DeSantis ran into the problems and costs of hiring a contractor to get immigrants to board his charter planes in San Antonio, Texas. Lest passengers include some of the record 176,000 Cubans who arrived at the southern border by land over the past year, the contractor appears to have targeted only Venezuelans and a few Colombians.

But the contractor had no problem including seven children. The trips were paid for $615,000 from a $12 million appropriation by the state legislature “to implement a program to facilitate the removal of unauthorized aliens from this state in compliance with federal law.” Funds have been drawn from interest accrued on federal COVID relief funds. It turns out that interest is not subject to the same restrictions as actual money.

There is still a requirement for the legislator to spend money on moving “unauthorized aliens” out of Florida. Immigrants were never on planes in Florida except for 45 minutes when DeSantis’ planes landed in Crestview en route to Martha’s Vineyard. DeSantis showed that he didn’t go to Harvard Law School for nothing. He claimed that the people who boarded the planes in Texas intended to eventually go to Florida and would have ended up there.

The whole thing was a political ploy that was financed through a loophole and enabled for falsehood. DeSantis made it even more shameful by making fun of those angered by this human trafficking, whether or not it fits the legal definition of human trafficking.

This isn’t the first time white supremacists have sent immigrants north on buses (although the use of planes is new)

The refugees were shown to have been lured with false promises of jobs and housing far from where they were likely to be secured. They also found themselves at a considerable distance from immigration courts where they would have to appear or face deportation.

Many residents of Martha’s Vineyard responded to the sudden arrival of the refugees with offers of food and shelter. The entire AP Spanish class in high school volunteered to work as interpreters.

But DeSantis sought to portray the islanders as a group of wealthy liberals who expressed concern for the poor and the downtrodden only as long as they kept their distance.

“Their signals of virtue are fraudAnd theannounced at a press conference.

The voice against decency comes from Michael Cervantes, a 41-year-old painter and handyman who just happened to be walking around Holover Beach on Labor Day. It was early enough in the morning that the people who made it Florida’s biggest nude beach didn’t start showing up. The refugees on a makeshift boat that came ashore in front of it escaped an additional culture shock.

“They came from eastern Cuba,” Cervantes told The Daily Beast. “Thirteen males and two women. And they were very good for being 10 days at sea. They were a little burnt, but they were fine.”

Cervantes is himself a Cuban refugee, who got lucky in the visa lottery 22 years ago. He knows that conditions in Cuba have worsened since then.


“There is little food to eat,” he said. “No transportation. On top of that, they had blackouts all night.” “It’s awful. And you can’t even express yourself. You can’t even complain.”

Cervantes understands that the situation is at least as bad in Venezuela, which is run by the like-minded dictator of his predecessor who called Fidel Castro his “brother”. And Cervantes has deep sympathy for all those who would make desperate efforts to reach America, whether they endured 10 days at sea or walked thousands of miles.

“They are risking their lives,” he said.

He feels that those who avoid refugees – wherever they come from – indicate a lack of decency.

“That’s kind of cruel, you know,” he said. “This is not human.”

From what he can tell, America has plenty of scope and opportunity.

“It’s always a place here for everyone, you know?” He said.

The last time he saw her, among the 15 people on the makeshift boat, they were supplied with water and some kind of food by the Miami-Dade Rescue Management Unit which rolled ashore.

They were subsequently arrested by US Customs and Border Patrol agents. A spokesperson for the agency told the Daily Beast on Monday that he was only able to report their fate in general terms.

“All incoming immigrants who make landfall regardless of their nationality are detained in US Border Patrol, interviewed and processed for deportation procedures,” the spokesperson said.

What is certain is that DeSantis did not place any of these 15 on a charter tied to Martha’s Vineyard as part of a heartless lie inside a loophole. DeSantis’ press office did not respond to an inquiry as to why there were no Cubans on the two chartered flights.

Had there been Cubans among the 48 immigrants who climbed the Martha’s Vineyard amphitheater, it would have compromised the purpose of this particular form of human trafficking, which the vice says was neither sex nor money, but simply power.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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