Column: DeSantis’ latest human sacrifice targets California

The Catholic Diocese of Sacramento is headquartered on a dirt road between a gas station and a cemetery, about two miles from the State Capitol. It’s an office building with a hard to reach entrance and no church to look after those in need.

This is where about a dozen Hispanic asylum seekers were thrown out on Friday by the state of Florida. A few days later, thanks to the Sunshine State, 20 more migrants arrived.

Florida authorities called it “voluntary relocation,” suggesting that the deportees – powerless, poor – were part of their transcontinental evacuation and unceremonious delivery.

In fact, it’s just another human sacrifice on the altar of Florida’s political ambitions. The White House is looking for a governor Ron DeSantis.

His dormant state legislature, which fulfills virtually every DeSantis wish, has earmarked $24 million to ferry migrants—even those outside of Florida—from the southern U.S. border to other mostly Democratic states.

Take it, left-handers woke up!

Columnists Anita Chabria and Mark Z. Barabak discuss the political stunt and scorpion-in-a-bottle relationship between DeSantis and the California governor. Gavin Newsom, who would like to run for president.

Chabria: When I look at these flights, I can’t get past the fact that DeSantis will be in Sacramento later this month for a $3,300 muffin fundraising breakfast.

These flights made headlines – no paid media could match the national attention. My cynical side wonders if this is all just a publicity stunt on the part of the presidential candidate. Can it be so simple if it’s ugly?

Barabas: Yes, it could be.

Let your weary, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe freely, serve as the political vanguard. Get those checkbooks out guys: Ron DeSantis is coming to town!

His nascent White House bid almost gone as promised by the preliminary hype.

The official announcement was stupid embarrassment. (This will teach him how to outsource tech support to Elon Musk’s version of Twitter, which uses chewing gum and a bundle of wire.)

DeSantis still seems to be working on building out to voters, which is an important part of running for president, and everyone’s crazy about Florida’s aspiring first lady can’t help it.

So apparently he decided to start the old outrage machine, and what better way to fire people up than to fire up the right immigration issue?

Do you think it was a coincidence, Anita, that Florida was playing doorbell on Newsom’s front porch rather than, say, sending its victims to Maryland or Louisiana, which also have Democratic governors?

Chabria: I do not.

The feud between Newsom and DeSantis is endless. They argue about hair gel and Disneyland. They fought over guns, abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, and education. Newsom went on a family vacation to the South and framed the governor of Florida in his neck.

Now DeSantis is returning the favor.

But let’s not pretend that our own governor wasn’t thrilled with the response to this latest provocation. While it’s true that Newsom’s White House ambitions were limited by President Biden’s decision to run again, they remain alive and well.

Our aged president, who tripped over a sandbag last week at his graduation ceremony at the Air Force Academy in Colorado, was just the latest reminder of his advanced age and the unease that is causing in Democratic circles. No doubt Newsom isn’t the only one wondering if there are more sandbags in the road ahead of an 80-year-old Biden.

In the meantime, he can thank DeSantis for bringing something other than California’s homeless crisis to the nation’s attention for now.

But beyond Newsom, immigration is a vital issue that we as a country have failed to address politically, resulting in untold human suffering. Even under President Obama, we have separated families.

Do you think DeSantis is right about that? Can Democrats really claim a high position on this issue?

Barabas: Obama, as you can see, has pissed off a lot of people with his approach to immigration. Critics branded him a “chief deporter” because of the millions expelled from the country during his eight years in office.

Biden, for his part, has come under fire for being too lax about border security and being too harsh on immigrants by his administration.

Yes, as you said, our immigration system is in disarray and generations of politicians have ignored the problem, or worse, exploited it for their own ends.

However, I think we can agree that the shameless exploitation of people for political purposes – transporting them around the country like cargo, throwing them on the pavement like a used candy wrapper – is a completely different level of cruelty and soulless irresponsibility.

None of this is happening in a political vacuum. But as we play out the aftermath of the election, let’s not forget that these are flesh-and-blood people who, at perhaps the most feared and vulnerable moment of their lives, are horribly exploited.

There, but for grace.

Chabria: My father arrived by boat as a refugee, so there will be no arguments from me.

It is important that our Attorney General Rob Bonta investigate whether the flights were a form of human trafficking or kidnapping, as our governor tweeted in a moment of high hyperbole. These are people who are openly used for propaganda purposes and deserve full protection and respect for our laws.

Of course, Bonta is most likely running for governor (he hinted at it but didn’t announce it) and doesn’t mind a big splash of attention – just more proof that you can’t separate politics from politics or camera from campaigns.

Barabas: I’m not a lawyer and I won’t try to play newspaper. But I think the chances of someone going to jail for this stunt are just as likely as DeSantis and Newsom working together in 2024 on the same ticket.

“Tweeting is not political,” was the explanation given when our itchy-fingered governor launched empty threats against Walgreens in the fight for access to abortion.

It’s also not the protocol of the prosecutor.

Maybe we need legislation requiring a 48-hour waiting period before Newsom tweets.

Chabria: I’ll say this for California – having leaders that stand up to the bigotry and bias that DeSantis and others spew is vital. This gives confidence to those present that their rights will be protected.

Whether Newsom and, to a lesser extent, Bonta have political motives or strong legal arguments, they speak loudly about the values ​​of this state.

As a fan of Dark Brandon, Biden’s sporting alter ego, I think there’s a lot to be said for hitting back.

But these “voluntary resettlements” will continue, won’t they? Because they serve their purpose so well. Here we are all talking about it.

Barabas: I have already said and will repeat: there is no organism on Earth more sensitive to heat and light than a politician.

As long as candidates like DeSantis believe that performative political actions like migrant dumping—however heartless they may be—provide an advantage, these sorts of ploys will continue.

But let’s not let voters get off the hook.

Until they convince legislators that they need to meaningfully address the issue of immigration – which means passing laws and compromising with all parties – or seriously risk losing office, they will continue to do nothing.

In the meantime, in the words of the wise political commentator Bob Dylan, I pity the poor immigrant.