Right-Wing Hypocrisy on DeSantis’s Clownish Thuggery

Right-wingers are making a big deal out of the decision by people in Martha’s Vineyard not to take into their homes the immigrants that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis shipped to them a few days ago. The right-wingers are saying that feeding the immigrants and caring for them was not sufficient. The people of Martha’s Vineyard, they say, should have taken them into their homes rather than let them be taken and housed at a nearby military base. They’re saying that this reflects the hypocrisy of the left.

What the right-wingers conveniently forget, however, is that under their beloved socialist system of immigration controls, it’s a felony to harbor illegal immigrants. While the immigrants that DeSantis shipped to Martha’s Vineyard have some sort of special “parole” status, one can easily understand why any American citizen, not understanding the fine points of U.S. immigration laws, would not want to expose himself to a federal felony prosecution for harboring someone who has illegally entered the United States. 

Don’t believe me?

Well, then just ask Scott Warren, who lives in Arizona. Using the U.S. immigration laws against “harboring,” federal officials went after him with a vengeance, no doubt to the delight of every right-winger in America.

What did Warren do to warrant a federal prosecutorial attack on him? According to an article at NPR.org, he committed the heinous “crime” of providing food, water, and shelter to two migrant men, Kristian Perez-Villanueva, 23, and José Arnaldo Sacaria-Goday, 20, who had crossed the Arizona desert on foot for two days and two nights. They found their way to “the Barn,” a humanitarian aid station that Warren was operating.

In other words, Warren did precisely what those people in Martha’s Vineyard did, only he not only gave the migrants food and water, he also provided them shelter for three days. Yes, three whole days! Imagine that! What a heinous “crime,” right?

Who is Scott Warren? He seems to be pretty much a regular-type guy. At the time, he was 37 years old and was a geography teacher in Ajo, Arizona. He just wanted to keep migrants from dying in the desert. Isn’t that horrible? In fact, he was part of a group named “No More Deaths,” which places jugs of water, food, first-aid kits, and other supplies in the desert for migrants to find, much to the anger and chagrin of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Yes, in the minds of U.S. officials and American right-wingers, what Warren and his colleagues in “No More Deaths” did was a horrible thing to do. That’s why they’ve made “harboring” a federal felony as part of America’s immigration police state that has come with America’s system of immigration controls.

Warren opted to have a jury, not a judge, determine his guilt, which, thankfully, the Bill of Rights entitles him to do. But then something unexpected happened. Guess what the jury did. They acquitted him! Yes, it was a classic case of jury nullification. Despite the fact that federal prosecutors showed beyond a reasonable doubt that Warren had given water, food, and shelter to the two migrants, the jury nonetheless came back with a not-guilty verdict. Their jury’s message to the prosecutors was essentially: Don’t bring these types of vicious, brutal, baseless prosecutions against people who are engaged in humanitarian acts that are intended to help illegal immigrants survive.

Unfortunately, however, the federal prosecutors didn’t get the message. After the jury’s verdict, Michael Bailey, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, announced, “Although we’re disappointed in the verdict, it won’t deter us from continuing to prosecute all the entry and reentry cases that we have, as well as all the harboring and smuggling cases and trafficking that we have. We won’t distinguish between whether someone is harboring or trafficking for money or whether they’re doing it out of a misguided sense of social justice or belief in open borders.”

Do you see why those people in Martha’s Vineyard might be reluctant to provide shelter to the migrants that DeSantis dumped in their community as if they were nothing more than bags of trash? In fact, I can’t help but wonder whether right-wingers are hoping for a criminal prosecution against the people of Martha’s Vineyard who provided food, water, and care for those migrants, just as right-wingers loved the federal criminal prosecution of Scott Warren for doing the same thing.

The right-wing element in America should be ashamed of themselves for celebrating DeSantis’s clownish thuggery. Migrants are not trash to be shipped and dumped in various parts of the United States in an effort to show up the hypocrisy of the left. They are real-life human beings with hopes and dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. The right-wing might not like these people, but they nonetheless deserve to be treated as human beings, not like bags of trash to be shipped out and dumped in other parts of the country.

Finally, it bears emphasizing that the people of Martha’s Vineyard do not deserve to be prosecuted for “harboring” simply because they provided food, water, and care for those 50 migrants. They deserve to be thanked and praised for their actions, just as Scott Warren does.

This first appeared on Jacob Hornberger’s Expand Freedom blog.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.