Washington, DC – We’ve been highlighting the dangerous implications of the Ron DeSantis immigration plan and its reliance on dangerous white nationalist conspiracies and rhetoric that incites violence. Yet there are other components and implications of DeSantis on immigration worth understanding – including the following three points (which are described in more detail at bottom):
- DeSantis Proposing a Collection of Ugly and Unworkable Policies That Show He Is More Interested in Chaos at the Border Than Real Solutions
- DeSantis Is Ignoring the Economic Costs of His Extreme and Cruel Immigration Bill Back in Florida
- DeSantis Encapsulates the GOP’s Ongoing Descent TowardsExtremism and Violence on Immigration
According to Zachary Mueller, Political Director at America’s Voice: “Underneath Ron DeSantis’ reliance on dangerous white nationalist rhetoric and allusions to violence lies an extremist agenda that is more of a nativist wishlist than serious, achievable policy. The Florida Governor says he wants to overturn the 14th Amendment, indefinitely detain children and create a mass-deportation regime that would uproot families and destabilize communities across the country. It’s as ugly as it is unworkable. Already, we’re seeing the economic costs and consequences of the DeSantis immigration vision back in his home state. All of it encapsulates the Republican Party’s ongoing descent into dangerous extremism on immigration – all politics and red meat for the base and no real solutions or efforts to move beyond perpetual chaos, fear-mongering, and bigoted extremes.”
Point 1: DeSantis Proposing a Collection of Ugly and Unworkable Policies That Show He Is More Interested in Chaos at the Border Than Real Solutions
The DeSantis policy vision is a collection of ugly and unworkable policies that do nothing to advance real solutions to a broken immigration system. In addition to the calls for “deadly force” and other dangerous incitements, other disturbing policy components of the DeSantis plan include:
- Pushing to change the citizenship standard enshrined in the 14th Amendment (putting DeSantis and Trump and others supporting the end of birthright citizenship on the wrong side of the Dred Scott decision and a Reconstruction Amendment adopted after the Civil War to codify the citizenship of freed African-Americans);
- Calling for the indefinite detention of children by overturning the Flores ruling, which Presidents do not have the power to do;
- Wasting additional money on completing the corrupt, ineffective border wall as part of the push to further militarize the border by throwing money at GOP financial backers, as Trump did.
As Greg Sargent of the Washington Post assesses, the DeSantis plan is full of “performative cruelty” and, in light of his pledge to end parole programs helping to alleviate border pressures, notes that DeSantis isn’t actually interested in “securing the border … In fact, widening legal channels for such migration arguably disincentivizes people from trying to enter via the border and straining infrastructure there. That helps process overall migration in a more orderly way. The rub is that DeSantis doesn’t want well-managed migration. He wants far less of it.”
Or listen to Mario Lopez, president of the conservative Hispanic Leadership Fund, who told Rafael Bernal of The Hill, “Most of the politicians that tout anti-immigrant propaganda are not interested in solutions. They’re not interested in a secure border. They’re perpetuating the insecurity of the southern border for their own political benefit and so they can fundraise, scream on Twitter, and get on TV.”
Point 2: DeSantis Is Ignoring the Economic Costs of His Extreme and Cruel Immigration Bill Back in Florida
The DeSantis immigration plan unveiled this week conspicuously didn’t mention the continued array of media coverage and attention detailing the economic toll on the economy and communities of the signature Florida anti-immigrant legislation he signed into law and that goes into effect on July 1.
From the worries expressed by key Florida industry sectors – from construction to agriculture to trucking to hospitality – to the human stories of longtime Florida residents in mixed status or undocumented households fleeing the state, no assessment of DeSantis and immigration should miss what’s happening in his home state – right now – because of the signature anti-immigrant bill. As a new Miami Herald story by Mary Ellen Klas notes, “DeSantis wants to keep migrant workers out, but businesses say Florida needs them.”
Point 3: DeSantis Encapsulates the GOP’s Ongoing Descent TowardsExtremism and Violence on Immigration
Many observers have become numb to the way Trump and the MAGAfied Republican Party have radicalized on immigration. Their anti-immigrant policy and political agenda is a point of depressing near-unanimity throughout the GOP at odds with the national interest and real attempts to fix a broken immigration system.
Ten years ago this week, the 2013 immigration bill passed the Senate with 68 votes, including 14 Republican Senators. In 2018, 2020 and 2022, the GOP’s extremism, including on immigration, were liabilities for Republicans and hurt their standing with most American voters. Now, the 2023 primary season is an encapsulation of how Republicans have continued to radicalize- to the detriment of the national interest and their national standing.
As Rafael Bernal writes in the referenced article in The Hill: “The once-fringe immigration proposals pushed by former President Trump are now the backbone of the GOP’s immigration and border security platform … in the 2024 race, GOP candidates are scrambling to outdo each other with statements and proposals ideologically aligned with Trump’s golden escalator speech.