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Ruben Navarrette

Columnist, host & author

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Opinion

Immigration policies one reason to keep DeSantis out of the White House

Oct 10, 2023

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Ruben Navarrette

Columnist, host & author

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Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has made immigration crackdown a central focus of his platform. The Florida governor passed a state law mandating certain businesses verify new employees’ immigration status through a database. This policy has reportedly led to the departure of migrant workers, sparking worries about its impact on Florida’s economy.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette argues that DeSantis’ extreme approach highlights the politician’s lack of expertise in handling complex issues. Navarrette asserts that these deficiencies make DeSantis a poor choice for president.

So last year, DeSantis helped himself to a couple of dozen Venezuelan refugees who were in a Texas holding facility. He then shipped them to Martha’s Vineyard, just for laughs, just to see how the white liberals on the island would react. Well, they didn’t react all that well, quickly making arrangements to reroute the migrants to Boston. So, DeSantis managed to expose the hypocrisy of those folks — good for him. But in the process, he also revealed himself to be a creep who isn’t above turning the downtrodden and desperate into political pawns. 

He also pushed through the Florida legislature and then signed into law what many people are calling “the toughest immigration bill in the country.” The legislation takes every bad and unlawful idea about how to combat immigration proposed all across the country in the last 30 years and lumps them together in one place. The law is so bad that Florida’s business community is worried that it could scare off the same immigrant workers that keep the state’s economy humming along. Oops — DeSantis didn’t see that coming. 

Another Republican governor, one who wasn’t obsessed with showing voters how tough he was on the U.S.-Mexico border, might have considered how a crackdown on immigrant workers might hurt the business community, whose political contributions keep the Republican Party afloat. But then again, that would have taken a serious person — and that leaves out Ron DeSantis.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis isn’t ready to move to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. And nothing illustrates that better than his hamfisted approach to the extremely sensitive issue immigration. Immigration is the most divisive issue that this country has grappled with since slavery. It divides communities paralyzes Congress, causes hate crimes leads to massacres by gun toting white supremacist, and helps the Ku Klux Klan recruit new members. These are serious matters. 

 

Too bad DeSantis who’s running 45 points behind for President Donald Trump in the contest for the GOP presidential nomination isn’t a very serious person. Serious people don’t entertain for even one second, the possibility of attacking Mexico, our neighbor, friend, ally, and number one trading partner. Serious people understand that there are very few countries around the world that have the luxury of being bordered by friends and allies. And serious people when asked by a journalist if they would, quote fire missiles into Mexico don’t shrug and say the equivalent of Well, it depends. 

 

That’s what happened recently when CBS Evening News Anchor Norah O’Donnell, having heard DeSantis go on for a few minutes about how he was prepared to get tough on Mexican drug cartels by doing things like send the US military down to police the border, asked the governor whether he would send missiles inside Mexico. Now that’s a crazy question. But what was even crazier was when DeSantis took the bait and began to answer it. Before pivoting on to safer ground. Quote, we would use all available, the tactics I think can be debated. If you have something you want to accomplish, people would brief you on the different ways you’d be able to do it. DeSantis said. So that would be dependent on the situation, send missiles into Mexico, but simply it depends. 

 

For DeSantis. Immigration is nothing more than a political chew toy. For him. It’s a way to exploit for his political benefit the anxiety that many Americans feel about immigrants, and have always felt about foreigners dating back to Benjamin Franklin’s crusade against German immigrants in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. For him, immigration presents the chance to get mileage out of a wave of desperate people who’ve run out of options and have to take desperate actions. 

 

Granted exploiting immigrants isn’t so easy to do when your state isn’t considered an immigration state. Why would anyone listen to you complain about how there’s a supposed invasion going on at the border when the only thing that your state borders is Alabama and Georgia. Florida takes in very few immigrants compared to states like Texas, or California or Arizona. 

 

So last year, DeSantis helped himself so a couple of dozen Venezuelan refugees who were in a Texas holding facility. He then shipped them to Martha’s Vineyard Just For Laughs just to see how the white liberals on the island would react. Well, they didn’t react all that well quickly making arrangements to reroute the migrants to Boston. So DeSantis managed to expose the hypocrisy of those folks Good for him. But in the process, he also revealed himself to be a creep, who isn’t above turning the downtrodden and the desperate into political pawns. 

 

He also pushed through the Florida Legislature and then signed into law what many people are calling the toughest immigration bill in the country. The legislation takes every bad and unlawful idea about how to combat immigration proposed all across the country in the last 30 years and lump sum together in one place. The law is so bad the Florida’s business community is worried that it could scare off the same immigrant workers that keep the state’s economy humming along. Oops. DeSantis didn’t see that coming. 

 

Another Republican governor, one who wasn’t obsessed with showing voters how tough he was on the US Mexico border might have considered how a crackdown on immigrant workers might hurt the business community whose political contributions keep the Republican Party afloat. But then again, that would have taken a serious person and that leaves out Rhonda Sanchez

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