The Politics of People Dumping
What we are witnessing with migrant dumping is a cruel political stunt and a shameful lack of leadership.
It’s disgusting what two radical right-wing governors in Texas and Florida are doing, using innocent migrants as cheap political props intended to boost their own popularity among their dirt-dumb xenophobic bigot base.
That’s it, really. It’s a power play clearly designed to stress the resources of liberal states and cities. It absolves these governors of their own responsibilities as leaders. It’s cowardly, and it’s cruel.
Shipping people whose only crime is wanting a better life in America 1,500 miles halfway across the United States and then dumping them on public streets is a perverted and embarrassing spectacle. It’s unfathomable this can actually be happening in 2022 America, and with substantial public support within those two states filled with so many angry people (Christians, no less, perfectly comfortable with treating people like farm animals).
Yeah, illegal immigration needs to be addressed. Absolutely. And public frustrations are justified in some cases. However, these two governors abdicating responsibilities and making this someone else’s problem is *not* a solution. It’s a propaganda stunt.
Gov. Greg Abbott and Gov. Ron DeSantis began shipping migrants who originally arrived in Texas and Florida out of state on buses last month. The chosen final destinations were (and are) deliberate. Washington, New York, and now Martha’s Vineyard were chosen purely out of spite (the state of Florida actually paid to have migrants flown to the Massachusetts island). It’s also costing Texas and Florida taxpayers approximately $1,300 per migrant to ship them north. It would be cheaper to fly them first-class back to their countries of origin, so this ugly spectacle wasn’t about reducing burdens on the state taxpayer.
This wasn’t any well-thought-out, carefully constructed government response to a real problem. It’s a despicable prank. One busload of migrants even ended up at the Vice President’s house (at the National Observatory), which were dropped there intentionally. Presumably, Gov. Abbott and Gov. DeSantis shared a hearty laugh over that one.
Yeah, people fleeing and getting dumped like stray dogs is funny to some bigots, I guess.
What’s most revealing about the intentional cruelty of busing migrants to destinations in the Northeast is the utter lack of coordination. This is purely intentional. Officials in Texas and Florida have given *no warning whatsoever* to officials in other states, nor social workers who attempt to deal with the influx of new arrivals. No phone calls. Not an email. Nothing.
People dumping, it appears, is intentionally designed to make those poor people as uncomfortable as possible — given the lack of coordination means no meals, restrooms, or other services. You’re pissed that your flight is an hour late? Imagine what these people are going through. Thank goodness for the kindness of many hero volunteers in Washington and New York, who have worked out of the public eye to resettle and help these people, while demagogues Abbott and Costello DeSantis preen in front of the cameras and reap the mass adoration of mobs. Too bad those two pricks weren’t born in Mexico.
I get it — immigration should be discussed. It’s long past due. For many years, I’ve strongly advocated a guestworker program and a fair path to American citizenship. I’d also adopt the “Gastarbeiter” system that’s served Germany very well for nearly half a century. But hey, Americans refuse to look at anything that works in foreign countries. Chalk up another win for the xenophobics lucky enough to have been born on the northern side of a river.
I’m not sure what, if anything, the mayors of WDC and NYC can do to counter the cruel act of two southern governors (and let’s add the El Paso mayor to this shameful charade). WDC and NYC could turn around and ship them right back where they came from, but that would only add to the migrants’ misery. Besides, two wrongs don’t make a right. Perhaps shipping giant barrages of trash and dumping NYC’s waste into the Gulf of Mexico six miles off the pristine South Padre Island coastline in international waters would send a clear message. Or, give a one-way bus ticket to anyone released from Rikers Island or the DC jail straight to Texas and Florida. Call it an uncivil war. I’m open to hearing suggestions.
What I do know is — what we are witnessing is a cruel political stunt and a shameful lack of leadership and I’m here to call it out and label it for precisely what it is — despicable.
POSTSCRIPT: There’s some cruel irony to Ken Burns’ latest documentary (“The U.S. and the Holocaust”) debuting nationally tonight which is on the American response to Jewish refugees in the 1930s. It’s a new series on PBS. I don’t necessarily group migrants with Holocaust victims, of course, but the xenophobia in American culture is 100 percent the same. Those who don’t remember history are……