As you may have heard, the Florida governor orchestrated and paid for a plan to have asylum seekers in Texas flown to Martha’s Vineyard as a political stunt to own the libs and deliver the “immigration problem” to the doorsteps of the out-of-touch wealthy liberal elite. There have been dozens of articles written about this, and I encourage you to find the ones written by your trusted sources. And, although I won’t refer you to all the ones that I have read, I do think the videos below provide strong evidence as to the intentions of the Florida governor and his co-conspirators.
More people seeking asylum were flown or bused to other places as well, but the 50 Venezuelans who were lied to and sent to Martha’s vineyard hits a little closer to home for me. Not because of the location where they were sent. I have never been to Martha’s Vineyard, nor does it reside on a list of places I want to visit. I could tell you more about the nations that make up the region of Southern Africa than I can about Martha’s Vineyard. But what I can tell you about is the people of Venezuela.
You see. My wife is from Venezuela, and therefore, I have brothers and sisters-in-law who are Venezuelan. Y, también, mis suegros son de Venezuela. Some live in New York, others in Orlando, DC, and even central Pennsylvania.
Since many of you don’t know about Venezuelan people or what they’re experiencing, let me tell you what I know.
Venezuelans are immensely proud of their astonishingly beautiful country, and it is hard to fathom that millions are fleeing their homes to start over here in America. But then again, when you read things like the below…
Nicolás Maduro has been president of Venezuela from 2013 to the present. His rule has been marked by a continuation of Bolivarian socialist populist policies (at least until 2020), but also by a severe economic crisis — hyperinflation (53,798,500% between 2016 and April 2019), escalating hunger, disease, crime and mortality rates, and mass emigration (almost 5 million from the country as of 2019). Extrajudicial killings of opposition by government forces are reported (by the United Nations) to include 6800 deaths as of 2019.Politics of Venezuela. (2022, August 22). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Venezuela
…it becomes easier to imagine how these dire circumstances motivate people in Venezuela to use whatever resources they have at their disposal to make it to Peru, the US, Brazil, Colombia, and in whatever other country they can find asylum and a realistic path to a new life.
When I met my wife, she was already a citizen here in the states, but her parents were in Venezuela. She hadn’t seen her father in five years. And although that was difficult for them both, her parents were hopeful they could stay in Venezuela. I mean, that was their home. Many of their friends are still there, and it’s where most of their memories will always be. But as each year got worse and worse, and inflation went out of control, they had to finally accept that coming to the United States was in their best interest. Even though they were in a fortunate position to have a daughter here with citizenship to support them in their process, it took them two years to get through all of the legal channels and set foot on American soil.
Can you imagine being sixty or seventy years old, moving to a new country, learning a new language, and searching for a job? There’s enough age discrimination in hiring as it is, and throw in a language barrier with a dash of racism and see how well that goes. This is the time of life when my in-laws should be enjoying their retirement and spoiling their grandchildren, but instead, they have to reinvent themselves in a new land. And their kids are spread out worldwide trying to create their own immigrant success stories, so everyone’s resources are tied up in just surviving.
The point is that people don’t just come here from Venezuela like someone from Philly decides to head down the shore for a day trip in July. This is serious, life-changing, expensive, and sometimes dangerous shit we’re talking about here.
But despite the challenges, no one complains. Everyone in my wife’s family is working hard and making the most out of their situations. My father-in-law works in a hotel, servicing a buffet and delivering meals to guests’ rooms. My mother-in-law works in retail, studies English, and participates in an English reading club online. I have a brother-in-law with a Ph.D. teaching at a university, working hard to land his tenure track job. Many others are working that gig economy to the fullest or are striving to be entrepreneurs.
And my experiences extend beyond family. Where I live, the best Italian restaurant in the area is owned by Venezuelans. Last year, the business and many others flooded due to a hurricane. The entire basement was filled with water, coolers were submerged, and there was about 2.5ft of water in the dining room. After the storm, they got to work, pumped out the water, fixed their appliances, and got back open as soon as possible. As the story was relayed to me, there was no pouting–no blaming Biden or Tom Wolf–they accepted their situation and got back to work. (Again, this was the story as it was told to me. I’m not a paid journalist, so forgive me if I didn’t verify with the borough how many days their business was closed.) But I do know they are definitely open, are busy, and the food is delicious.
How can anyone root against this kind of drive and work ethic? Suppose this has been my experience with the Venezuelan people here in Pennsylvania. In that case, I can only surmise that if Desantis was paying even a little attention, he’d recognize the value that the people of Venezuela bring to his state. He’d find a way to turn that untapped potential into revenue for his constituents. But instead, he decides to spend money to dehumanize them to gain praise from the scumbags over at Fakes News (Fox). Sorry, I try to avoid name-calling and being too partisan in my posts, but that network is a joke on its best day. And if you’re tempted to ask, I do not watch CNN either.
I’ve been talking about work ethic because I know, as a country, we in the United States value “hard work” over everything. But I don’t care much about that. I am impressed by the joy and values the Venezuelans I have met brought to this country. They may have been forced to leave material things behind, but their hearts are here. Participating in their traditions and cooking and eating with my new family has been an absolute treat. If you walk by a place selling arepas one day, you must try them. If you get invited to spend an entire day eating, drinking, and dancing while preparing hallacas with a Venezuelan family, don’t say no. It might sound overwhelming at first, but it’ll remind you why we exist on this planet, if there’s any reason at all.
And I love sharing with them my traditions. It’s been a blessing for me to invite my in-laws to Thanksgiving dinner, Memorial Day picnics, and birthdays to make them feel at home here. Seeing my hometown fair through Francia’s eyes made me appreciate it in an entirely new way. People back home always talk about how the fair sucks. And it’s too expensive. And the people. And the parking. And they just complain. But she loved it. And so did I. I realized that what I grew up with is also culture. And to someone from somewhere else, it’s unique. Now, as far as food and drinks are concerned, Italian Americans and Venezuelans mesh pretty well together. And my wife and I were both raised Catholic, so I guess some aspects of our cultural exchange have been pretty easy. But, nonetheless, it’s a gift to be able to share this “American” experience with newcomers, and I wish more people could see that.
I love that my nieces and nephews now have cousins with a different cultural background than their own, and they have an incentive to learn Spanish one day. That they will be connected to more people around the United States and the globe and that their stories have become more interesting, if only by association.
Every new perspective and immigrant story adds to and enriches the story of these United States of America. We can’t believe in the US and that it’s possibly, or could be, the greatest nation on earth while vilifying those who seek asylum and refuge from oppressive regimes and corrupted forms of socialist governments. Except for the descendants of slavery and American Indians, these immigrants come here the same way most of our ancestors have, of their own willpower seeking the same rights and freedoms many of us seem to take for granted.
Think about this. The people coming here from Venezuela are escaping the same type of government and economy that we, generally speaking, as a country, believe can’t compete with the federal, representative, democratic republic, and free market economy that we have here. That means they’re already on board with what we’ve got here. Their opposition to socialism comes from direct experience with it, not from a textbook. They don’t need to be convinced about the “American way” or the “American dream.” They just need a fair shot at achieving it, like, a path to citizenship or some form of permanent residency. They’ll handle the rest. And if you think more for “them” is less for you, then maybe you need to explore your attitudes about United States exceptionalism because you don’t seem convinced that America is a land of abundance and opportunity.
Let me wrap things up here. The overarching purpose of this article was to share my own experiences with the people of Venezuela who are trying to carve out a life here in the states. I hope it helps anyone reading this to avoid seeing them as the political pawns that some are making them out to be. Please connect with your humanity so that you can see it in all those who believe in the American dream, even if they aren’t yet citizens here. They might not be your parents, grandparents, or grandchildren, but they are someone’s. And although immigration policy can be tricky, and doesn’t have to be inhumane.
If you think this article is valuable and should be added to the public discourse around immigration, please share this to your socials and feel free to leave a comment here.
Thanks for reading,