• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 26 comments on Florida Governor DeSantis’ Transport of Migrants to Massachusetts Is a “Crude Political Tactic…Playing with People’s Lives,” LAW Expert Says

    1. Martha’s Vineyard did not “ship them” off anywhere, to be clear about the facts. The Governor of Massachusetts set up a more reasonable temporary space, a military base, for them, where they can have access to more resources than on a small island.

        1. Tom. I can play the facts game all day if you’d like. Here is another. There are 13 counties in Massachusetts. Dukes County, where the Vineyard is, ranks 6th out of 13 in per capita income. Right in the middle. Above it are counties in Northern and Western Massachusetts. Facts count.

          1. Thank you, I was about to comment and you did it for me. It might not reach Tom’s mindset, but your response will reach other people. Martha’s Vineyard did not have the services to provide for them and a safe place was created for them. I live in Texas and I am constantly appalled by the actions of our leadership.

      1. The fact is that MV went crazy and the governor did it because they asked him to. The residents of MV proudly proclaim their towns as sanctuary towns yet when they get a mere handful of illegal immigrants they make damn sure that they are gone by the next morning. Time to flood the sanctuary communities with the illegals they profess to love.

    2. You cannot comment, even respectfully, if
      your comment opposes the article writer point of view. If you dare to disagree, the comment is removed. That is what happened to my respectful comment this morning.

      1. My comment, “Very we’ll put,” is in regard to George’s stance, just to be clear. The border is a mess, to put it mildly, and these trespassers should not have free entry into the United States. Period.

  1. What was done is terrible. These people should have never been shipped to the Vineyard. As a declared sanctuary, the Vineyard and all the other places that have declared themselves sanctuary cities and states should be sending busses to the boarder states to collect the immigrants and bring them to where they are welcome and accepted.
    Because congress has not and will not deal with this issue, it’s up to each state, like Massachusetts to step up and do there part.

  2. The border should not be wide open. This should not be happening if the actual administration had the right border policy in place. We, the taxpayers are paying the consequences. Think about that.

    1. Hi George,
      I think about that for a long time. You are 100 correct.
      People sometimes forget who the government is.
      It’s ours right? So we are paying for all this with ours earned money.

    2. Where is your evidence that the border is wide open? This is patently false. And, what are the so-called consequences? Additionally, immigrants pay taxes too. We all do–now whether or not the most wealthy in this country pay their fair share is another topic. Like Mr. Warren, I believe you should inform yourself on international law and asylum. A good place to start would be reading the article you are pretending to react to. In case Professor Sherman-Stokes’ analysis is too “lib” for you, the Cato Institute–a right-wing, pro-free market think tank–has shown that the US does not have open borders (google “open borders cato,” it’s the top search result). This is a source I frequently disagree with, but at least they can be honest about this “open borders” nonsense.

      1. You asked what is your evidence that the border is open. From my observations of the Biden administration on this issue it seems they have been doing everything in their power to encourage (rather than slow down) as many people as possible to come to the US. What’s the evidence you ask?

        1. After Trump left office Biden dismantled every Trump policy that was meant to slow down the number of people coming across the Mexican border illegally. The most obvious example is ending one of the most effective policies called ‘Remain in Mexico’ that Trump implemented. This policy – agree or disagree with it – was one of the most effective in greatly reducing illegal crossings and forcing people to seek legal channels of immigration. Biden ended it in the FIRST WEEK of his presidency. Here are some facts about that policy and how it was terminated:


        2. And the most obvious evidence is the effects of those policies: unprecedented number of migrants illegally crossing the southern border. It is simply the greatest number of people coming here illegally than at any time in American history. It is not only overwhelming border towns, but creating and fueling a human trafficking business for criminal Mexican gangs.

        Here’s a reference from NYT:


        This was about a year ago. It’s only gotten worse since then.

        Another consequence of the open border is the record amount of deadly drugs like fentanyl which come from Mexico and fueling overdose deaths in American cities in record numbers.


        Let me know if you need me to point you to more evidence …

        1. You bring up “Remain in Mexico” as if it wasn’t problematic for asylum seekers with a prima facie case, but also as if it definitely means ending it is equal to open borders. Let’s get definitions straight. Open borders means no border enforcement whatsoever, no need to present a visa upon entry. In actuality, you have militarized law enforcement at every US point of entry.

          Here’s a reminder that there IS border enforcement along the Southern United States: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/09/21/us/politics/haitians-border-patrol-photos.html

          There is no evidence for any open borders policies from any branch of government. Therefore, your other points don’t make sense either. Not only that, but you’ve committed a logical fallacy where you confuse cause for effect. You might benefit from not only brushing up on your logical argumentation, but also from learning about the history and economics that lead people to migrate from their home countries, or for cartels to want to smuggle in killer drugs. The world is more complicated than you might think, friend.

      2. The evidence is that since this administration took office, the number of people entering the US illegally, has increased as never before. One has to be blind to ignore what is happening.
        I am not impressed by people trying to lecture me about international law and asylum. Maybe a visit to the border would change your mind but if I recall correctly, the VP who was sent to tackle this issue went down there only once and not to close to the border. What other evidence do you need?

  3. Lots of people are treating the immigrants like nice people .
    Maybe they are . Maybe they are not! No one knows.
    Aren’t they illegal?If so why aren’t they treated that way.
    Do we want open borders like we have presently?
    Of course we welcome legal immigrants — it’s our backgrounds.
    But until we all agree legally what kind of immigration system want and adopt it LEGALLY. Let’s treat illegals accordingly . Stop them at the gate until they are legally vetted and classified.

    1. Mr. Warren, I invite you to consider the following: The people you call “illegals” are human beings, just like you, that are coming out of dire situations. Did you read the article? Are you understanding why people migrate? I don’t think you have an understanding that the United States does not have “open borders” and that international law provides those seeking asylum with the opportunity to do so (aka they’re already being vetted). There’s nothing illegal about what migrants from other countries are doing by showing up and seeking asylum. Please take a moment to review the requirements to receive TPS as an asylum seeker and rethink your political stance from an empathetic perspective.

      1. I really do want try to understand your point of view. But if you lecture me as if I am crazy for being critical of the current administration’s approach, as if I have no legitimate concerns, as if there is no problem with how the Biden is tackling this issue, as if the southern border is not getting absolutely overwhelmed by the chaos that is being created there, you will not convince anyone who is not already on your side.

        (I might suggest in the interest of constructive engagement, just make your argument, engaging with the the substance of what the other person is saying but avoid lecturing people about what THEY need to do and how ignorant they are for being concerned. You might actually persuade people that way and and maybe even learn something new about the issue yourself.)

        You do not have to have a PhD in logic to figure out that IF you remove policies that makes it MORE difficult to get over the border illegally and stay in the US with undocumented status that this will have the intended effect – that is, you will have MORE people coming, illegally. It is the stated and intended effect of the Biden admin to remove barriers to illegal entry into the US. His actions have followed his words and his policy. And unsurprisingly that is what is being achieved. The evidence for it is simple numbers: before Biden came into office there were about a million FEWER border crossings! This is my only point: that Biden’s policies makes the chaos, human trafficking, drug trafficking and the misery on the border town much worse than it was before he came into office.

        It is my contention that there no balancing of interests here from administration. Judging by his actions, there is very little concern for the detrimental effect his policies are having on US citizens – many of whom are poor themselves. Biden’s policies overwhelmingly lean towards letting as many migrants in as possible whatever the conseque3nces.

        Now to get back to where I started: I do want to understand other points of view on this as long as the person arguing with me is not arguing from a place of arrogance. Arrogance is when you reject out of hand all legitimate criticism of the President on this issue as the other person is crazy when they point out problems (to put it mildly) around this issue.

  4. “I don’t think we should be stuck within the framework of what we need is border security. The idea that we have a homeland we need to secure is a really dangerous narrative. It creates an us-versus-them setup. No wonder people want us to be secure when the press has drummed up this idea of a foreign threat. That’s not who my clients are.”

    If America is not a “homeland”, a state whose priority is its citizens before any foreigners, no matter how nice they are, then there are two potential logical consequences. The first is that the concept of a “homeland” is itself illegitimate, and that no country on earth is allowed to prioritize its own citizens over anybody else. Therefore, Sherman-Stokes ought to defend any American waltzing into Zimbabwe or Indonesia, claiming any government benefits that the Zimbabwean and Indonesian governments offered its former citizens, occupying homes and jobs that were previously owned by Zimbabwean or Indonesian former citizens, and so on. Furthermore, Sherman-Stokes would have to advocate for the Zimbabwean and Indonesian governments to never regulate nor restrict Americans flooding into their countries– and even if the populations of Harare and Jakarta are in time 90% American, then Sherman-Stokes should celebrate this as a good thing.

    The other potential implication is that Sherman-Stokes thinks Zimbabwe and Indonesia and so on can be “homelands”, but not America, which would constitute deep hatred for Americans specifically (a hatred you might even call ‘dangerous’?)

    So, which will it be? I, for one, look forward to a follow-up interview, in which I am given the green light to settle Harare along with millions of other Americans, with no care in the world as to how this impacts the people already living there, as I am only improving Harare’s culture and economy.

  5. Great point! I don’t understand how we can simultaneously be proud to be a sanctuary state but then get so upset when immigrants are sent our way. If we were a true sanctuary then we would be going and collecting our fair share of immigrants from these places where they are sadly but clearly not wanted.

  6. I agree with Sherman-Stokes’ point that politicians like DeSantis and Abbot are playing with people’s lives to score political points, especially with midterm elections next month. DeSantis is an expected presidential candidate for 2024. With former President Trump’s anti-immigrant and xenophobic policies, it makes sense he is looking to follow that path in hopes of building momentum. These politicians are making these big shows and spending so much money to make a point about their policies, full of hatred, but they are just preying on people’s lives. At what expense? Couldn’t that money be used more wisely? For example, why did they not use those funds to invest in education? And, in my opinion, it’s not just conservative politicians playing with people’s lives. Democrats have made countless false promises when campaigning, and nothing has been accomplished. There is no immigration reform and no pathway to citizenship for Dreamers and TPS recipients; nothing has been done. It’s just political tactics and false promises made to get the votes they need to be elected, but once they get them, it’s only excuses about why it’s not happening.

    I wouldn’t say that Massachusetts can resettle the immigrants. Immigrants are essential for our culture and society; we know they are hard workers and drive the US economy. However, this state is seeing high displacement rates; the rent is far too high and the wages earned are not enough to pay the bills. This is happening to the state’s residents, and adding the migrants misled here will complicate the issue and impact both groups. How can we humanely resettle them when there are people here who can’t afford to live in an apartment?

    Addressing the border crisis and influx of immigrants is a complex issue. The native countries are developing countries with deteriorating economies, gang violence, and no opportunities for prosperity. These are all the issues forcing immigrants to make the difficult decision to leave their homes, making dangerous journies to a foreign country in hopes of the American Dream. In addition, in the US, the border is overwhelmed by the influx of immigrants, causing further political tensions among both parties. Therefore addressing the border crisis is complex because it’s not necessarily only a US issue. However, I do think whatever is done to address the issue; the US needs to do something to help immigrants that have been living here for over a decade, paying their taxes, following the law, etc. The US owes it to them.

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