Thursday, February 09, 2023

DeSantis’ migrant-transportation revamp clears FL Senate, despite lawsuits, Constitutional issues. (Florida Phoenix)

Florida Boy Governor RONALD DION DeSANTIS was unqualified for Congress, unqualified for Governor and beneath the dignity of the United States of America to even be mentioned as a Presidential candidate. This louche lackey of Corporate America and Reichwing ideologues deserves your pity. He needs a checkup from the neck up.  From Florida Phoenix:

DeSantis’ migrant-transportation revamp clears FL Senate, despite lawsuits, Constitutional issues

‘It’s legislative malpractice to vote for this bill … we’re just going to vote for it because the governor wants it’

BY:  - FEBRUARY 8, 2023 7:04 PM

 A Haitian father carries his children across the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 23, 2021, from Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

The Florida Senate has gone along with Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plan to fix problems in his asylum-seeker airlifts, voting along party lines to place it on firmer but not unassailable constitutional footing.

The focus now shifts to the Florida House, where that chamber’s version of the legislation (HB 5B) passed its last committee meeting Wednesday on its way to a floor vote.

The Senate rushed its bill (SB 6B) to final passage on Wednesday, voting to waive a requirement to let legislation sit overnight following consideration of floor amendments. The final vote was 27-12, reflecting the Republican Party’s supermajority in the chamber.

Democrats complained that the bill’s Republican sponsors never fully detailed how the program would work but were rushing it through a special session to placate DeSantis.

 Sen. Tina Polsky on the Florida Senate floor on March 1, 2022. Credit: Michael Moline

“It’s legislative malpractice to vote for this bill. In addition, we are not standing up as a coequal member of government,” Democrat Tina Polsky argued. “We’re just going to vote for it because the governor wants it.”

Bill sponsor Blaise Ingoglia, however, insisted the state’s hands are tied by the failure of the federal government to control the nation’s borders.

“We are doing a disservice to the citizens of the United States and the residents of Florida. There is no other way to sugarcoat it,” Ingoglia said.

“This bill allows for voluntary transport of inspected aliens to places around the country, to sanctuary cities and states who have allocated resources for this purpose. The state of Florida is not and never will be a sanctuary state,” he said.

Flights to Martha’s Vineyard

 Edgartown Harbor Light is a lighthouse located in Edgartown, Massachusetts, where it marks the entrance to Edgartown Harbor and Katama Bay. It is one of five lighthouses on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Credit: Wikipedia.

Background here, but the short version of this story is that the Legislature last year approved a $12 million budget provision allowing the governor to transport “unauthorized” aliens from Florida to other states. DeSantis exercised that authority in September by flying two planeloads, with nearly 50 Venezuelans, to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

Only they weren’t shipped from Florida but from Texas — DeSantis explained at the time that his administration couldn’t find enough qualified migrants in Florida to justify the flights but assumed that some of the people in the airlift might have wound up here eventually. Better to fly them to a “sanctuary” jurisdiction, he explained.

But the migrants weren’t unauthorized: The feds had granted them entry pending decisions on their asylum claims. And the flights attracted a legal challenge from Democratic state Sen. Jason Pizzo asserting numerous problems under the Florida Constitution, including the Legislature’s failure to authorize the program through substantive legislation.

 Jason Pizzo. Credit: Florida Senate

That suit remains pending before Leon County Circuit Judge John Cooper but, presuming the House goes along, the legislation would rectify that constitutional problem at least. Pizzo, from Miami-Dade County, said on the floor Wednesday that Cooper has set a hearing for 2 p.m. on Thursday. Ingoglia invoked that lawsuit in refusing to answer questions from his fellow senators about last year’s program.

Meanwhile, a putative federal class action is pending in Massachusetts filed by Alianza Americas, which advocates for Latin American and Caribbean communities, and three Venezuelan asylum seekers who say the DeSantis administration duped them into participating in the airlift with false assistance of assistance and jobs only to dump them unannounced on local authorities in that liberal state.

‘Unauthorized Alien Transport Program’

The new legislation would create an “Unauthorized Alien Transport Program” within the Florida Division of Emergency Management to arrange “transport of inspected unauthorized aliens within the United States, consistent with federal law.” That means the state or its contractors could scoop up asylum seekers or others admitted on humanitarian ground that they find anywhere in the country.

The legislation would retroactively approve last year’s (allegedly unconstitutional) budget allocation and provide $10 million to continue the program.

One issue in the federal case is that the state improperly financed its plan last year out of interest on federal COVID assistance. Another is that the state intruded on the federal government’s exclusive authority over immigration policy.

Unspent money from last year will roll over into the new program, so this new legislation could remain vulnerable on that and the jurisdictional ground.

According to a legislative analysis, the number of enforcement actions by federal agents increased by 200 percent between 2020 and 2021, to 1.9 million. Actions filed in 2022 amounted to 2.8 million, another 41 percent increase, with the trend continuing still.

‘Crisis mode’

 Florida state Sen. Blaise Ingoglia. Credit: FL Senate

“We are in crisis mode,” said Ingoglia, a Republican representing Citrus, Hernando, Sumter, and part of Pasco counties. He confirmed during floor debate that Florida officials and contractors won’t forewarn authorities in destination states. Contractors likely would seek migrants at bus stations and airports at international ports of entry, he said.

He insisted that the program would prevent their exploitation by human traffickers and steer them to jurisdictions likely to welcome them.

“Why would you guys want to drop somebody off in a state [Florida] and not get the services?” he asked. The program, he continued, is “probably more humane than what the federal government is doing, which is dropping them off and saying, ‘Hey, you’re on your own.’”

Polsky, who represents parts of Broward and Palm Beach Counties, didn’t buy it. “You just want to ship them off somewhere else” than Florida, she told Ingoglia.

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Michael Moline

Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.


Anonymous said...

Make no mistake, DeSantis will cheer on Cubans coming to Florida because of the prevalent propaganda causing the Cubans to vote Republican. They scaremonger and flim flam the Cubans with the anti-communist, right wing propaganda down in Miami. Rubio got that grift going good. But of course the Haitians and the Mexicans are out because they view the Haitians as useless and the Mexicans have historically tended to vote Democrat.

Anonymous said...

Americans have a poor understanding of things like justice and human rights. The only thing close to justice that Americans understand is throwing people in prison, suing people for money, and retaliation. American conceptions of human rights barely extends to anything that doesn't involve mass murder. Everything else people here don't really view as a human rights issue and even civil rights are flexible and murky to many, with the government doing nothing at times, and at other times they're the ones violating those rights. When values are not shared between so many in a population, this is the result.