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Senator Bob Menendez at the groundbreaking for the new Portal North Bridge. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe).

Menendez, Murphy condemn DeSantis for Martha’s Vineyard migrant ‘stunt’

Menendez decries ‘callousness and cruelty’ of DeSantis’ actions 

By Joey Fox, September 16 2022 3:48 pm

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Gov. Phil Murphy both released statements today blasting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for sending two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, an action which Murphy condemned as “a stunt designed only to improve his standing among his right-wing followers.”

“Using migrants at the very moment they are most desperate, most vulnerable, with the sole purpose of stoking the flames of xenophobia and white nationalism to score political points, reflects a callousness and cruelty matched only during the darkest times in our history,” Menendez said.

On Wednesday, around 50 immigrants, most of them Venezuelan, showed up on the vacation-oriented Massachusetts island without warning courtesy of the Florida government. A spokesperson for DeSantis told the New York Times that the journey was part of a program to transport migrants to “sanctuary destinations,” or places that offer some level of increased protection for undocumented immigrants.

DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have been pursuing similar policies for months, sending buses of migrants to Washington D.C., New York, and other cities to highlight what they call President Joe Biden’s failed immigration policies. 

In his statement today, Menendez, who is also the Senate Foreign Relations Chair and arguably the Senate’s leading voice on Latin American foreign policy, said that history would not look on DeSantis’ actions kindly.

“Leviticus 19:33 tells us: ‘When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them,’” Menendez said. “History will judge the demagogues of our time, as well as our inaction in this moment.”

DeSantis, a potential presidential candidate in 2024, recently acquired his first New Jersey endorser: Woodcliff Lake Mayor Carlos Rendo, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 2017.

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