The National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles (NLG-LA) is disturbed by the recent actions of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott, namely their relocation of migrants to various areas across the country. These actions are crass political stunts that treat people as political pawns and disregard their dignity as human beings. It is also a racist tactic that is straight from the playbook of the segregationist Jim Crow South. It must be stopped.
These governors are placing migrants into untenable situations where they cannot be reasonably expected to find work or access critical services. For example, last week, Governor DeSantis flew migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, an island community with a small year-round population and an economy focused on tourism. Many of the migrants were told that they were going to the Boston or New York areas, large urban centers with diverse economies and access to job opportunities. Martha’s Vineyard was chosen because of its reputation as a vacation spot for “liberal elites,” without considering how the decision would impact the relocated people. Each relocated person is an individual with thoughts, dreams, and ambitions and deserves to be treated as such.
This is also a tactic that segregationist white supremacist Southerners employed during the Jim Crow era. The white supremacists gave Black people a one-way ticket to Northern cities, with promises of jobs and other opportunities unavailable to them in the South. Much like the promises made today, these were lies. Much like today, people were relocated in order to embarrass political opponents without a thought given to their well-being. The National Lawyers Guild stood up to Jim Crow before, and we are prepared to do it again.
“The use of tactics perfected by Jim Crow white supremacists should be a reminder of how prevalent these ideologies remain today,” said NLG-LA Executive Director Christopher Chavis, “Jim Crow never died, it just fell back into the shadows. We must remain vigilant.”
California governor Gavin Newsom has called for a Department of Justice investigation into the actions of Governors DeSantis and Abbott, which we support. We also support grassroots activists fighting against these policies on the ground. NLG-LA stands for the rights of people and against white supremacy.