Fabiola Santiago is a wonderful columnist who writes for the Miami Herald. Whenever I read her opinions, I find myself vigorously agreeing. In this column, she wrote about DeSsntis’s spiteful treatment of immigrants, which is abetted by people who were immigrants or the children of immigrants. Florida, once known for its diversity, is rapidly becoming a stronghold of white and Christian supremacy (DeSantis appeals to Jews in Florida by his devotion to Israel, which also pleases evangelical Christians). Santiago notes that DeSantis will harass businesses that hire undocumented immmigrants (think hotels, restaurants, farms), but exclude businesses owned by his donors. Sounds like fertile ground for a shakedown: contribute to the DeSantis campaign and avoid prosecution.

Santiago wrote recently:

Immigrant-hate-stoking Florida Gov. DeSantis should be persona non grata in South Florida. But gullible voters eagerly follow charlatans.

There are plenty of reasons to whisk away the welcome mat — DeSantis has attacked practically every distinctive feature we once stood for — none more repulsive than his loathing of undocumented immigrants, encapsulated in an immigration bill making its way through the Legislature.

This is a region risen from the tears and triumphs of decades of immigration, and BD — Before DeSantis — even Republican politicians held us up as an example of the heights a diverse community can reach.

Before the abhorrent “Florida blueprint” DeSantis is peddling nationwide — autocracy, anti-gay, anti-Black and anti-women’s rights, anti-immigrant measures — we were heralded as America’s model city of the future.

Now, GOP state lawmakers stand in solidarity with inconceivable intrusion in our communities by a governor with runaway ambition.

Simply put, both versions of the same proposal, House Bill 1617 and Senate Bill 1718, are a slap to the face of our immigrant families — and native-born Americans who have welcomed immigrants into their lives, whether through friendship or marriage.

Families of mixed immigration status, people who straddle two worlds, are a Florida trademark. But if bills pass both chambers, these Floridians could potentially become criminals in the eyes of the law.

If signed by the governor, the new and possibly unconstitutional law would criminalize hosting immigrants in your home and driving them to school, work or anywhere else.

Doing so would be paramount to harboring a fugitive and abetting them. Who and how authorities get to decide who is here illegally or who isn’t is tough to tell.

And neither DeSantis nor the state decides immigration matters. The bill also mandates random raids on businesses to check employees’ immigration status, again not the purview of state government, and forces hospitals to ask patients for their immigration status.

All of these proposals, which should have been dead on arrival when filed, have passed two House and Senate committees.

The consequences of this bill are far reaching for people living in big Florida cities, such as Hialeah — which has the largest concentration of immigrants in the country — and obviously, other Miami-Dade and Broward cities. The same is true for other immigrant hubs, such as Orlando, Tampa and Jacksonville, where immigrant advocates held protests recently.

“This bill will negatively impact not only tens of thousands of mixed-status families living in Florida but will also impact thousands of businesses across the state,“ former Miami congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell told me.

“Immigrants have been the backbone of Florida’s economy from the agricultural sector to the hospitality industry. Will Gov. DeSantis raid every business in the state to enforce this law?”

Perhaps not the businesses of his donors, but he will target those of random Hispanics and other minority groups. It’s a political game for the governor with his sights on the presidency.

To win the Republican primary, DeSantis has to outdo former President Trump’s immigrant loathing. Who could have imagined that even possible?

But here’s DeSantis vying to prove to the base that he’s the baddest boy on the extremist Republican right-wing block. And he will boast on the campaign trail, as he likes to say: “Florida delivers results.”

To accomplish his legislative goals, DeSantis misrepresents the nation’s true immigration picture.

He attacks the Biden administration falsely claiming the president is allowing an “open border” when Biden is turning away, repatriating and deporting immigrants at a rate immigration advocates have denounced as “Trump-like.”

But perhaps worse than a Christian nationalist governor’s xenophobia, ethically speaking, is the fact that these bills that hurt immigrant communities are moving along with “yea” votes from Republican Cuban Americans from Miami-Dade. Have they lost all sense of decency?

To see senators with the last names of García and Rodríguez, the children of Cuban exiles, voting to do harm to other immigrants is beyond shameful. Sen. Ana Maria Rodríguez, who chairs the Miami-Dade Delegation, voted to pass the bill out of the Rules Committee.

It’s incomprehensible that she represents Doral, the city known as “Doralzuela” for its huge Venezuelan community.

But, for this generation — as Cuban-American Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez also has demonstrated with her support of DeSantis’ deceitful transport of immigrants to other states — it’s OK to reject one’s heritage. It’s the price of admission to the 1950s-styled Tallahassee club of powerful white men and compliant women.

Maybe Rodríguez’s inner child doesn’t remember how our parents housed with pride and warmth the latest newcomer from Cuba — whether the arrival came visa in hand through the Freedom Flights or aboard a packed shrimper, and without papers, on the Mariel boatlift.

But I remember when the first Hispanic caucus went to Tallahassee for one purpose: to represent us. Now the heirs jauntily walk in the shoes of an immigrant hater and do his bidding without regard to the impact on our communities? They’re weak legislators riding coattails that are a bad fit for immigrant South Florida.

Read more at: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/fabiola-santiago/article274039665.html#storylink=cpy