Phil Harriman (left) and Ethan Strimling BDN Agree to Disagree bloggers. Credit: Gabor Degre / BDN

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Phil: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has turned the spotlight of illegal immigration on liberal-minded politicians. From the small enclave at Martha’s Vineyard, to large cities across America, they are now experiencing the same crisis our southern border towns experience every day.

Ethan: Please don’t tell me you support his potentially illegal human trafficking of families for political gain?

Phil: Whoa, that’s a little harsh.  

Ethan: White supremacists did the same thing in the 1960s with what they billed as “reverse freedom rides” luring Black families onto buses with promises of jobs, housing, and cash in “the north.” These tactics were disgusting then. They are disgusting today.

Phil: I disagree. Those tactics were racially motivated by segregationists refusing to accept integration. Martha’s Vineyard was a vivid reality check to a problem Democrats refuse to confront.

Ethan: Both were racially charged stunts done at the expense of human beings and children. Really disappointed you support something like this.

Phil: Please. President Joe Biden has been deploying the same tactics, flying them into cities across the U.S.

Ethan: “Them?” Really, Phil, these are families. Show some respect for what they have been through. And no, Joe Biden has not been luring vulnerable people onto planes, promising cash, work, and shelter, and then sending those families somewhere completely different, keeping none of those promises.

Phil: I respect their drive and ambition, but not violating our laws. They have walked, literally, a path very few in America will ever walk. The distinction is that some may be here illegally, a choice they made.

Ethan: No, they aren’t here illegally. How many times do I have to tell you to stop watching Tucker Carlson (who is now documented as spreading false conspiracy theories)? The legal right to seek asylum for persecution back home is a sacred right in America, and these families did exactly what they were supposed to.

Phil: Those who are “apprehended” when crossing the border, who then ask for asylum once they are here, are technically here legally, awaiting hearings to determine if they are truly refugees.

Ethan: Correct. To be clear, it is not illegal to cross our border and ask for asylum. In fact, that is exactly how it works. When a person is fleeing persecution and death, we do not expect them to fill out paperwork at their local government office. We learned that lesson during World War II when we turned away Jews fleeing the Holocaust.

Phil: I question how many are actually fleeing persecution and death, but point taken. That said, the bigger point in all of this is that we have to secure our border. We have approximately 5,000 people a day crossing our border. That exceeds the population of Maine every nine months.

Ethan: And every one of them was detained by the Biden administration. And those deemed here inappropriately have been sent back. The rest await a hearing in front of a judge to determine their standing, as it should be. But no U.S. president can control what is happening beyond our borders.

Phil: No, they cannot, but they can do much, much more to ensure that people enter through the front door, not across a field, river, or in the trunk of a car. Not to mention all the fentanyl and methamphetamine that is coming with them and destroying American families.

Ethan: Again, stop watching Tucker. Fentanyl is not coming on the backs of immigrants. It is coming from China through the mail or on trucks that cross the border. But if you really want to crack down on illegal behavior, go after DeSantis for his cruel, maybe even illegal, political stunt. We should never see this in America. Or anywhere else.