The Treasury Department’s inspector general announced last month that it would be investigating Texas’ Greg Abbott’s very questionable use of federal pandemic funds as part of his anti-immigrant politicking. Should the office find that the right-wing governor misused the funds, it can direct the recoupment of the money.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is now urging the watchdog to launch a similar probe into Florida’s Ron DeSantis, who is seeking to use $12 million in federal coronavirus funding to aid his anti-immigrant shenanigans. SPLC said that the redirected money would allow the Florida Department of Transportation “to contract with common carriers to transport individuals deemed to be ‘unauthorized’ out of the state.”

“The proposed misuse of these funds reinforces anti-immigrant policies and sets a dangerous precedent for the politicization by state governments of the use of federal relief funds,” the organization said.

RELATED STORY: Treasury watchdog to investigate Greg Abbott’s very questionable use of federal pandemic funds

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“Should this office fail to stop or challenge Florida’s illegal actions, a significant number of Floridians will suffer harm,” the SPLC tells the Treasury Department inspector general. The statement says Floridians “are facing a housing crisis, a steep rise in insurance premiums, and inadequate infrastructure as the hurricane season begins.” Many are still suffering from damage following a recent tropical storm.

Yet DeSantis is seeking to swipe millions in federal funding not to aid his constituents, but as part of what is really his unannounced presidential campaign—and key to winning the Republican nomination is to hate immigrants. DeSantis had already signaled last November that he was going to make a scandal out of routine flights that have occurred throughout multiple administrations, including the insurrectionist president.

But that doesn’t matter to craven actors like DeSantis, because all that matters is that it’s happening under Joe Biden. DeSantis is an actor in every sense, mimicking both the physical mannerisms and anti-immigrant policies of other GOP shitheads. Recall that in his own despicable stunt, Abbott began to bus asylum-seekers from Texas to Washington, D.C., in retribution for the administration’s just decision to end Stephen Miller’s anti-asylum Title 42 policy (a decision that has unfortunately been blocked by a right-wing court). 

Thankfully, kind community members have stepped up to welcome the asylum-seekers and migrants used as human props by Abbott. Now DeSantis is copying his use of federal pandemic funds, too. The Treasury Department watchdog announced it would be probing Abbott’s use of funds following a letter from Texas lawmakers including Joaquin Castro and Veronica Escobar. Since DeSantis wants so badly to be like Abbott, he should get his own inquiry too. “Floridians need and deserve a government that works for them. Instead, Gov. DeSantis cares more about scoring petty political points with federal COVID-19 relief funds,” said SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project staff attorney Stephanie Alvarez-Jones.

“Gov. DeSantis has chosen to use federal funds to threaten and harm people who call Florida home instead of using federal COVID-19 relief funds for their much-needed intended purpose: to aid families, small businesses, and essential workers impacted by the pandemic,” Alvarez-Jones continued. “This misuse of $12 million is a travesty and should be investigated.”

RELATED STORIES: 

In latest xenophobic stunt, Ron DeSantis tries to gin up controversy over routine flights

Florida lawmakers pass despicable bill targeting asylum-seeking kids, DeSantis expected to sign

Greg Abbott’s Operation Lone Star border stunt balloons by another $500 million

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

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