For Congressional Democrats from Massachusetts, rules are meant to be enforced, not broken.
But only when it’s politically convenient.
Hence the generous side of irony served with a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg from Sen. Ed Markey and Reps. Bill Keating, Lori Trahan, Stephen F. Lynch, Jake Auchincloss and Seth Moulton.
The lawmakers are asking Buttigieg to investigate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s flight of some 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard this month, according to The Hill.
In the letter, first reported by Politico, the lawmakers said that the “conduct … may have violated DOT’s Charter-Broker Rule.” The Trump-era regulation bars those who arrange charter air transportation from misrepresenting the route of a flight.
When rules and regulations are broken, these Dems want no stone left unturned: “We urge DOT to swiftly investigate the company and individuals responsible for these representations and take all necessary action to protect migrants from such dishonest behavior,” they wrote.
If only they took such a hard line with illegal immigration.
That’s not going to happen, especially when Democrats rebrand illegal immigrants as “undocumented.” That euphemism is meant to downplay that they broke the rules when crossing the border.
As the New York Times reported, the 48 migrants who were taken from a shelter in San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard in mid-September are Venezuelans who had crossed the southwest border without authorization and had turned themselves in to border officials; many likely planned to claim asylum.
They are far from alone. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, CBP’s migrant encounters hit 2 million during the first 11 months of the 2022 fiscal year.
Some are expelled, some are apprehended and held in detention centers to be screened and processed. These centers are often at capacity, as the influx of migrants continues unabated. And the border states do the lion’s share of the heavy lifting.
That should have been the takeaway for our Democratic lawmakers — why do so many cross without authorization, how can the human traffickers be stopped from extorting migrants and encouraging illegal entry, and how can the process to screen out criminals and potential terrorists be expedited?
Most of all, what steps can the federal government take to ease the burden on border states, who must absorb so many new arrivals?
That, of course, is a lot harder than decrying DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for sending migrants to other states. And it doesn’t do much to gin up Democratic votes.
What does is painting our immigration laws — and those who enforce them — as draconian, and opening our borders wide.
“We must totally dismantle ICE and establish a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country.” That was a 2020 tweet from Markey, riding the wave of anti-ICE progressive sentiment.
The migrant move by Abbott and DeSantis was a stunt, but there was an important message behind it. We have an immigration crisis at our border, one that involves a massive amount of people, too few places to house them, and a system stretched to its limits trying to handle it all.
If lawmakers want to unleash the hounds of outrage, they can start there.