In 1650, my eighth great-grandfather was forcibly shipped to New England. To the British government, he was an undesirable. Gov. Ron DeSantis’ shipping exhausted and traumatized migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is a tactic as old as the ages.

DeSantis’ intention is clear: Punish wealthy Northerners for their liberal views on immigration. But his ploy is too clever by half. It does nothing to solve the problem of immigration. Instead, it exposes flaws in his own character. He’s not interested in finding solutions, in the welfare of migrants who come here seeking a better life or even in the well-being of his fellow Americans.

Northern states should share the burden of the nation’s immigration policies; that’s undeniable. But when has the Florida governor reached out to his peers, offering to hammer out strategies that work for red and blue states alike? Instead, he employs a prank to enhance his political visibility while desperate and voiceless individuals suffer. Fortunately for him, in 1917, immigration officials determined that one such individual, Luigia Colucci – DeSantis’ great-great-grandmother – was worthy of entering the United States.

Mr. DeSantis has shown that he’s unfit to govern. He rules by dictum, rather than consensus; he punishes those who disagree with him; he practices political gamesmanship with people’s lives. Compassion, compromise, negotiation, hard work – and leadership – don’t appear to be part of his political DNA. And his solution to our nation’s social challenges in 2022? Resorting to 17th-century tactics.

Carol Gardner

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