Critics claim that the $10 million program, which Republican lawmakers created to support the governor’s initiative, treats people like “chess pieces.”
A bill supporting Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ efforts to transport immigrants and asylum seekers into Democratic-controlled regions of the US has been passed by legislators in the US state of Florida. Critics have called this effort “indefensible” and have criticized the Republican governor’s efforts.
The bill that was passed on Friday allocates $10 million to pay DeSantis’s proposal by launching a new program called the Unauthorized Alien Transport Program.
The governor of Florida, a rising conservative star who is anticipated to run for president in 2024, partnered with other Republican state leaders to pay for the transfer of asylum seekers to regions of the country with a disproportionately liberal population last year.
The legislation passed on Friday still needs to be signed by DeSantis before it can be put into effect and give his administration the authority to transport immigrants from anywhere in the US. Across party lines, the Florida House voted the proposal through with a vote of 77-34, according to regional media.
On Friday, Democratic Rep. Christopher Benjamin argued that the legislation was “indefensible” un front of the whole state House. Rather than being chess pieces, they are people. The lives of others shouldn’t be played with.
Several migrants and asylum seekers were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a posh neighborhood in the northeastern state of Massachusetts, through two chartered flights that DeSantis organized in September of last year. Unease and concerns about the transfer’s legality were raised when the migrants showed there without warning, according to local authorities.
The episode was at the time condemned by the White House as brutal “political theater.” During the previous year, the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona have also transported busloads of migrants to cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, DC, including scores who were dumped off in December close to Vice President Kamala Harris’ house.
Some of the asylum applicants claim they were mislead, even though many of them have participated in such journeys voluntarily.
According to Massachusetts immigration attorney Rachel Self, when last year’s aircraft landed on Martha’s Vineyard, the migrants “were informed there was a surprise present for them and that there would be jobs and accommodation ready for them when they arrived.
” Republicans have claimed that the relocation campaign attempts to draw attention to an expanding immigration “crisis” at the US’s southern border, where record numbers of people have recently arrived in search of safety.
The border surge has been attributed by conservatives to President Joe Biden.
The Florida measure on Friday stated that “The Legislature determines that the Federal Government has failed to secure the nation’s borders and has permitted a surge of inspected illegal individuals to enter the United States.”
The program is intended to shield Florida from the “detrimental” impacts of migration, such as “more crime, lower economic prospects and wages for American workers, and burdens on the education and healthcare systems,” according to the legislation.
Immigration benefits the US economy, according to a large number of independent research. Data demonstrates that illegal immigrants are much less likely to break the law than natives of the country of origin.
The executive director of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, denounced Friday’s legislation as “a state-sanctioned formula for more partisan stunts exploiting asylum seekers as political pawns.”
Be clear: this relocation effort is not motivated by humanitarian considerations. O’Mara Vignarajah stated as much on Twitter. “It’s about ego and gaining headlines by any means necessary.
DeSantis has gained attention for pursuing far-right policies on matters of public concern, such as the COVID-19 pandemic response, abortion, and education. In former President Donald Trump’s race for the Republican nomination in 2024, he is largely regarded as the front-runner.