In what Daily Kos’ Laura Clawson previously called “a page straight out of the White Citizens Council playbook,” Florida’s Ron DeSantis lured vulnerable children and adults from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. It’s a craven political stunt designed to boost his presidential ambitions, hurt Venezuelan migrants, and “own the libs” in the process.
But polling last month showed Republicans split over GOP-pushed stunts transporting migrants. Overall, more Americans oppose it than support it. New survey results released this week now also show that most Americans support protecting Venezuelan migrants.
RELATED STORY: 'Deceived': New ad slams DeSantis for cruel political stunt luring migrants to Martha's Vineyard
”The survey finds that a majority of Americans (63%), across party lines, believe that people who are fleeing Venezuela and other communist regimes should be allowed to legally request protection,” Immigration Hub said. The national poll, conducted by Civiqs, found that the vast majority of Democrats, 86%, support the asylum process. More than half of Independents, 57%, are also supportive. Among Republicans, support is at 41%.
“Some Republicans worry that the stunt, which some experts have labeled ‘a different shade of family separation,’ could cost Republicans key voters from the Venezuelan voting bloc in Florida, the fastest growing Latino community in the state,” Immigration Hub said. The polling does not favor DeSantis, with nearly 70% of Latino voters saying that Venezuelans and other migrant fleeing regimes should be able to “seek safety in the United States should be allowed to legally request protection.”
“Additionally, the poll also found that a majority of Hispanic voters (65%) believe that the Republican governors of Florida and Texas who are busing and flying immigrants who are fleeing persecution are pulling a political stunt ahead of the November elections,” polling continued.
In polling released by Reuters and Ipsos last month, nearly half of respondents said they believed that GOP leaders were engaged in human trafficking. “Forty-five percent of respondents in the Reuters/Ipsos poll—including 63% of Democrats and 31% of Republicans—said state leaders transporting migrants were committing illegal migrant trafficking,” the polling said.
The notorious “Perla” recruiter, who has since been identified as former combat medic and counterintelligence agent Perla Huerta, lied to migrants in order to lure them onto flights from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, making all sorts of false promises about benefits like housing and work. But it was all a lie. Attorneys representing migrants who have launched a lawsuit against DeSantis have said they’ll seek to name her as a defendant in the case, which could provide key answers into how, and by whom, she was recruited.
In recent days, the Florida Immigrant Coalition Votes has also launched a six-figure campaign across central and south Florida targeting DeSantis. One ad, “Deceived,” zeroes in on the Martha’s Vineyard stunt. The narrator states that families were “falsely lured with promises of housing and other opportunities if they agreed to take the flights. None of it was true.”
“The immigrant stories of so many Latinos in Florida are of mothers and fathers, children and grandparents fleeing communist regimes, violent civil wars, and political persecution,” said Beatriz Lopez, Chief Political and Communications Officer for the Immigration Hub. “Just like my own family, they all found safety and a welcoming home in Florida. DeSantis is not only maligning the state’s rich history of immigrants who have helped build Florida into what it is today and who will even now assist in its recovery, but he’s making it clear to Venezuelans, Latinos, and their tax dollars that he’s willing to play games with human lives like a fascist.”
“None of us like to be reminded of the dictators our families fled from—come Election Day, there will be some reckoning at the ballot box,” Lopez continued.
Recent reports have also indicated that as migrants have been shipped by Florida from Texas to Massachusetts, companies have been actively recruiting Venezuelan migrants in New York City to help rebuild Florida following Hurricane Ian. Builders and contractors swooping up immigrant workers—many of them lacking legal status—for cleanup and rebuilding following natural disasters is one of the worst-kept secrets in America. It’s a secret that Ron DeSantis knows very well.
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Attorneys for migrants tricked by DeSantis say now-identified 'Perla' will be named in suit
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After an eruption of even more scandals among Republican Senate candidates, FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich returns to The Downballot this week to discuss the effect these sorts of scandals can have on competitive races; whether Democrats stand a chance to keep the House; and the different ways pollsters create likely voter models.