Desantis Plays Politics at Martha’s Vineyard


Sunday, September 18, 2022

Our nation’s inability to secure our southern border from illegal border crossings is deeply troubling. Congress seems unwilling to actually come to an agreement as to how to handle the crisis. Almost 2 million migrants have crossed the border in 2022, an unprecedented level that we are ill-equipped to handle.

The frustrations of those who govern our border states are legitimate, and the crisis will only deepen if Washington does not exercise its authority on immigration and come up with some solution.

That being said, there are some lines that any politician, especially a conservative one, should never cross. This week, Governor Ron DeSantis crossed one such line.

On Wednesday, DeSantis paid for 50 migrants from Texas to be flown on two chartered planes to Martha’s Vineyard. They were dumped unceremoniously in the city with no directions as to where they should go. Some of these migrants, as has been reported by NPR, were told they were being flown to Boston. There are unconfirmed reports that some of the migrants were told they were being taken somewhere they would be granted jobs and housing. Instead, they were forced to take shelter in a church, and have now been moved to a nearby military base while they wait to see what their future holds. 

Each side of the aisle reacted as one would expect; progressives were up in arms over the move, while conservatives applauded DeSantis’ decision and sneered at liberals’ indignation. The maneuver raised DeSantis’ standing with the Republican base, making him look tough-on-liberals in the eyes of the voters he will need if he seeks the presidential nomination in 2024. 

 For starters, this stunt (and it is certainly that) is being paid for by Florida taxpayers through a program authorized by their legislature earlier this year to move illegal immigrants out of the state. These migrants, however, were merely awaiting their day in court from Texas. Florida taxpayers are footing the bill for a move that does nothing to aid them as state residents, but rather helps DeSantis’ personal political ambitions. It is not fiscally responsible and does nothing to solve the issue. Instead, the political fires have been stoked, the liberals “owned”, and money wasted for naught.

Additionally, and more importantly, these are real people. They are not packages to be shipped around the country on a whim; they are human beings, and playing political hot-potato with their lives is not conservative, presidential, or even decent. 

Conservatism is supposed to be about a principled, constitutional approach to problems. It is not about personal ambitions, or about attacking the political opposition. This move by DeSantis has nothing to do with the former point, and everything to do with the latter two. We should expect, and demand, more from our elected officials–especially those who have ambitions beyond their current office.

Scott Howard is a junior political science major at the University of Florida. His other work can be found on Substack, where he writes the newsletter The Conservative Muse.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.

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About Scott Howard

Scott Howard is a junior political science major at the University of Florida. His other work can be found on Substack, where he writes the newsletter The Conservative Muse.

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