Is This Legal?

It’s a given that this new GOP governor (with presidential ambitions) tactic of shipping migrants and asylum-seekers to symbolic “liberal” parts of the country as a sort of “own-the-libs” performance art is gross, degrading and the kind of thing that awful people do. That’s a given. But I’m very curious about this latest stunt by Ron DeSantis. First of all, Martha’s Vineyard? Again, it’s using these scared and generally helpless people as a stunt guffaw. But is this legal? In some cases migrants might be perfectly happy to be transported from Texas to New York. Maybe they have relatives there. Maybe the social climate seems more inviting. Who knows? But there’s news coming out today that these people shipped to Martha’s Vineyard were told they were being sent to Boston to get special job permits.

Immigrants and refugees, as we know, have very few rights. And even more the rights they do have are seldom enforced or vindicated. But if you transport someone across state lines under false pretenses that can certainly edge up against laws about kidnapping or trafficking. All the more if you’re using coercion.

Obviously the immigration service can transport people, incarcerate them, do all sorts of things. But that’s ICE, which whether we like it or not has various statutory powers to do these things. But these stunts aren’t ICE, even if ICE may be looking the other way. This is the political machinery of the state of Florida and they’re using private transport. So I’m curious if this is even legal.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Edblog
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriter:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: