The Florida legislature has now blatantly joined Florida’s Governor in open contempt for peaceful, mutually beneficial cooperation with progressive states or with the District of Columbia.
Last fall, Florida governor Ron DeSantis joined other Republican governors in arranging and funding the transport migrants in southern border states to destinations in northern states and in the District of Columbia. All of these such efforts are unsavory but DeSantis’s was unsavory and weird. Florida doesn’t actually have a southern land border like Texas and Arizona do. So, DeSantis sent operatives to south Texas. There, they enticed recently arrived migrants, mostly from Venezuela, to board a plane to Boston. Except, the flight did not go to Boston. Instead, it landed the migrants in Martha’s Vineyard, an small island whose towns are not hubs for social resources and jobs for disadvantaged newcomers who have come to the United States seeking asylum.
Ron DeSantis really wanted in on the movement by Republican governors to resist the point and purpose of the Union between the states that make up the U.S. Now, the Florida legislature has made it clear they are wholly on board. In a party-line vote, Republican legislators have allotted $10 million for DeSantis to transport more migrants from states other than to Florida to states other than Florida.
This should not be characterized as a “political stunt.” It should be taken as what it is: an effort to make common cause with other Republican-dominated southern states to embarrass and disrupt progressive cities in the northern U.S. The asylum-seekers are abusively treated pawns in this aggression.
Maybe DeSantis and his fellow Republicans have a sincere desire for a different national policy on asylum and immigration or to gain the assistance of other states in justly, humanely, and lawfully accommodating asylum-seeking migrants. If so, the Florida government could turn to well-established legal tools by which states work together. It could invite other states to develop and implement an interstate compact on assisting asylum-seekers.
There are also established legal and political channels for states to hash out their disagreements more adversarially. States may sue each other and the federal government in court. They may debate and disagree about national policy in Congress, where legislative votes settle contested issues.
Using any of these law-governed techniques, Florida could raise and seek to address its concerns without launching an attack on the basic premises of the Union. Instead, the Florida legislature has decided to fund guerrilla tactics headed by Florida’s governor. We should take this as the act of disunion I believe it is intended to be.