by Kyle Sammin
Wednesday, 21
September 2022
Analysis
15:00

No, DeSantis’s migrant stunt was not ‘kidnapping’

Pundits are trying to weaponise the law to take down the Florida Governor
by Kyle Sammin
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Credit: Getty

Nineteenth-century Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz remarked that war is a mere continuation of policy by other means. Here in the 21st century, we are much more civilised: when politics ends, we don’t resort to war, we just try to put our political opponents in jail.

The latest example of ‘lawfare’ followed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s decision to fly 48 illegal immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a playground for the rich and self-proclaimed ‘sanctuary city’ for illegal immigration.

It is fair to ask how any of this involved Florida, the state of which DeSantis is actually governor, but the funds for the enterprise were legally appropriated by Florida’s legislature. The flight was part of a broader trend of governors along the Mexican border attempting to shift the burden of record-breaking illegal immigration from impoverished border towns to the rich cities and states that support a lenient policy on the border.

If they can’t get him on misusing state funds, and they can’t defeat him in his upcoming reelection bid (which seems to be the case, based on polling) DeSantis’s enemies will take the Clausewitzian approach and throw him in jail, if they can. A much retweeted thread by Left-wing pundit Judd Legum laid out the road map for jailing the Republican governor: by offering these people a ride under what he alleges are false pretences, Legum says, DeSantis is guilty of “fraud or kidnapping.” A Democratic sheriff in Texas seems interested in the idea.

The first indication that this might not stand up to scrutiny is that Legum does not even know what crime he thinks DeSantis committed. Fraud and kidnapping are two very different crimes!

Kidnapping, in Texas law, is when someone ‘intentionally or knowingly abducts another person.’ That same section of the code defines ‘abduction’ as ‘to restrain a person with intent to prevent his liberation by (A) secreting or holding him in a place where he is not likely to be found; or (B) using or threatening to use deadly force.’

Even DeSantis’s worst detractors cannot credibly allege that he hid these people (the flights were public and well-covered in the press) or that he used the threat of ‘deadly force’ to get them on the plane. The section of the Texas Penal Code on fraud does not appear to cover anything even close to what happened, even if Legum’s claims are taken at face value.

Others point to a federal kidnapping law, 18 USC § 1201 which, among other things, bans kidnapping by inveiglement. ‘Inveigle’ is just the kind of word to take fake lawyer Twitter by storm: Black’s Law Dictionary defines it as “to lure or entice or lead astray, by false representations or promises, or other deceitful means.”

The crux of this argument is that DeSantis’s people promised the migrants that they would find benefits and security in Massachusetts, which Legum and others say is a lie. DeSantis, in an interview with Erick Erickson, said that his officials did no such thing — the passengers were all volunteers seeking what Massachusetts publicly advertises as its benefits available to refugees.

Before prosecuting someone, we should really figure out what actually happened, and then consider if it breaks any law. But this isn’t about law: it’s about politics by other means. Combing federal and state criminal codes to find a violation might serve to injure a political opponent — America has a massive amount of law on the books, much of it never enforced, and partisan sheriffs will do what they will — but it is not the way the legal system is supposed to work.

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Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
12 days ago

Another reason this lifelong Democrat will be voting either Independent or GOP in the next election: the Dems represent the party of the insulated professional class and they flat out lie when they say they want to help the poor and working classes, including migrants.
All one needs to do is look at how poor & working class people are treated in “liberal” cities – and how they are treating a mere 50 migrants entering their city as some kind of atrocity – that these people are hypocritical liars.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
12 days ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

As a reader of the WaPo (yes I know it’s trash but I’m going ‘behind the lines’ for all of us), it just amazes me that this has been twisted by the democrat journalists and the readers into expressing pride in how well they treated the immigrants shipped to them by De Santis.

It was less than a hundred and they think they’re heroes! De Santis should send thousands more up there and then see if the locals still manage to stick to their principals on accepting mass migration.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

How did you survive the WaPo comment section?

Last edited 11 days ago by Matt Hindman
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
11 days ago
Reply to  Matt Hindman

I chip in occasionally. I read this stuff to try and understand American ‘liberals’, but usually come away flabbergasted at their sheer ignorance and extreme bias.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 days ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Why were you ever a Democrat?

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
11 days ago

I was formerly a Standard Brain Dead Liberal who voted Democrat too; youthful folly.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
11 days ago

It’s understandable. As a gullible teenager reading the trendy philosophy books l used to justify communism. But by my early twenties I realised what a numpty I’d been.
What I don’t understand is the masses of ‘intelligent’ people who still justify socialism when they reach their forties.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

I cannot see why.
Form a very early age it seemed obvious to me that socialism was a fraud, and also a Trojan horse for a lot of malcontent and vindictive individuals to vent their spite on the the rest of society, or at least the sections of society that they envy and loath without revealing their true nature or hypocrisy.
I count members of family among this group which might be why I saw through it early on.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
12 days ago

Excellent and concise article!

Therefore, Biden et al, who flew illegal aliens (the correct word legally – they are not “undocumented”, they broke the law) in the dead of night to various cities around the US, is guilty of mass kidnapping (or fraud).

Clearly, the “sanctuary” government in Massachusetts and, it’s municipality of Martha’s Vineyard, is an illegal alien “sanctuary”, so long as they all stay in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Florida (why didn’t Biden ship them all to California?).

Ray Zacek
Ray Zacek
11 days ago
Reply to  Richard Pearse

Democrats generally, with solar flares of sanctimony, accuse their opponents of doing exactly as they do.

E. L. Herndon
E. L. Herndon
10 days ago
Reply to  Ray Zacek

Indeed, the current Democrat/woke/left bunch seem to be carrying on a grotesque parody of the silly school custom of Opposites Day! Certainly in the village where I live, where there are few secrets and a generations-old database, it is invariably those who proudly virtue signal with yard signs that are in practice the most judgemental, mean and generally dark souls. Happy souls just get on with life in a practical way, but the insecure seem to have a need to conspicuously whitewash their sepulchres.

Poet Tissot
Poet Tissot
10 days ago
Reply to  Ray Zacek

Hypocrisy of the first magnitude…

Vince B
Vince B
12 days ago

Of course, the idea that DeSantis kidnapped or defrauded anyone is absurd. What he did do is execute one of the most effective political stunts in recent history.
The response in Martha’s Vineyard, one of the world’s wealthiest and most exclusive enclaves, was beyond parody as they grappled with this “humanitarian crisis!,” shipped these folks to a local military base (as so many border states do) within 24 hours, and then congratulated themselves for having so “openly welcomed” these people. Gee, some even got hugs!

Last edited 12 days ago by Vince B
R Wright
R Wright
11 days ago

Watching progressives turn into migrant despising authoritarians almost overniht when they actually have to deal with them in person is very entertaining. It has the same energy as when travellers arrive in a Lib Dem voting town in England.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
11 days ago

Pathetic. Illegal immigration is being used (weaponised in their own hyperbolic language) by globalists and their outriders, to undermine western working-class communties and culture. De Santis’ stunt has exposed once and for all the superficial displays of caring by the ruling elite and they hate it. Fortunately there is nothing they can do to deflect this and attempts in that direction just make them look even worse.

Last edited 11 days ago by Martin Smith
Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
11 days ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

This is a fascinating example of the right taking a page out of Saul Alinsky’s book Rules for Radicals. Rule 4 states: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” Rule 5 states: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage.”
Much of the electorate voted for Trump in hopes of border control. This tactic, however, may be worth more than the millions of votes cast on that issue on behalf of Trump.

John Cole
John Cole
11 days ago

How on earth do you
Post an uptick on here?
I’m wearing my finger out trying-;

Lewis Brainard
Lewis Brainard
7 days ago

First, I’m surprised people on both sides of the political spectrum aren’t outraged at this negligent use of taxpayer dollars. Why the heck should taxpayers have to for the $12,000 bill PER PERSON for this publicity stunt? Even if you like DeSantis, you can admit that this was 100% a publicity stunt. That’s not fiscally responsible use of taxes that are already too high for most.

Second, they were not, in fact, illegal immigrants. They were here legally and undergoing the legal asylum-seeking process which started with them surrendering themselves to US officials at the border. And if they were made specific promises about which benefits they’d receive (and didn’t receive), this is textbook inveiglement. Not to mention they were told they were going to FL and taken to MA instead. The ONLY thing with which I agree from your article is that we should wait for the facts to come out before deciding to prosecute anyone, but if what the class action lawsuit alleges is true, this is fraud at best, kidnapping at worst.

Mary Bruels
Mary Bruels
11 days ago

You know you’re over the target when the flack increases. DeSantis knows how to get into liberals heads by using facts.

13th Gen MYFLWR Tobey
13th Gen MYFLWR Tobey
11 days ago

Hey Skippy, sorry, but I don’t think “ without papers“, Florida or Texas, were manipulated when they got off the boat, redirected somewhere else, that’s not what we do in the United States, of course within the context of an insurrection I can imagine people feel entitled to do just whatever they want and not necessarily based on United States law or the US Constitution. But this doesn’t seem to be a topic that can be easily to easily discerned based on the mental obstructions that many seem to have?

13th Gen MYFLWR Tobey
13th Gen MYFLWR Tobey
11 days ago

Are United States laws and the United States Constitution are exactly what they are, until grifting power grabbing ignorant learn conditioned behavior takes it over, and implements whatever divisiveness their blind faith will intends and that becomes God’s will right that pretty much sums it up!