Speaking on Friday afternoon in Daytona Beach, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that 50 Venezuelan migrants, including 10 children, had been transported by two private planes from Texas to Florida.
According to FlightAware tracking, one plane flew to Charlotte, N.C. The other traveled to Spartanburg, S.C. Both planes then went north to Massachusetts before reaching their destination on Martha’s Vineyard, an island enclave off the Massachusetts coast.Read More »
After spending the night on Martha’s Vineyard, the migrants traveled by bus to the ferry. They are now on Cape Cod at the Joint Base Cape Cod Emergency Shelter.
DeSantis to Double Down on Migrant Relocation Efforts
The Florida Governor announced that he will “use every penny” of the $12 million he received from the state of Florida for migrant relocation.
“These are just the beginning efforts,” DeSantis warned. “We’ve got an infrastructure in place now. There’s going to be a lot more that’s happening.”
DeSantis plans to “spend every penny” of the $12 million budget allocation to ensure that the people of Florida are protected from the negative effects of border crossings that are now out of control.
DeSantis says his relocation efforts will help to protect Florida from the flood of immigrants who are entering the United States at the Texas border. The governor declared that the sanctuary states will now have to bear the burden of Biden’s reckless immigration policies.
Lambasted by Liberals
DeSantis’ actions in this matter have been described as everything from inhumane to purely political. Democratic politicians and immigration lawyers are calling for an investigation into whether the Governor’s moves were illegal. Democrats are calling his behavior immoral.
Immigrant Relocation and The $12 Million Budget Allocation
This year’s Florida state budget includes a $12 million allocation to move “unauthorized aliens” out of Florida. Critics argue, however, that the money was not intended to remove migrants from Texas and questioned whether Florida taxpayers should have to foot the bill for migrant relocation efforts.
DeSantis was questioned about why he had used money earmarked for Florida relocations to pay for Texas relocations. He explained that disproportionate numbers of migrants head straight for the Florida state line shortly after they cross the border into Texas.
Where Have All the Immigrants Gone?
DeSantis explained that after entering the United States, the migrants travel in small groups. They look like everyone else, so they are impossible to detect. No one can figure out how they are getting in.
People working for the State of Florida are presently on assignment in Texas trying to track down migrants who want to go to Florida. Once identified, they are offered free transportation to sanctuary jurisdictions instead.
DeSantis said that Florida now has its own contractor heading up the state’s relocation program, and that he is not opposed to collaborating with Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott.
The Florida Governor said he would prefer to send the immigrants back to Mexico or to their home countries. Forty percent of Texas migrants say they want to go to Florida. “That’s a lot of people,” DeSantis said.
He added that the migrants will be safely transported from Texas and Florida to Democratic sanctuary states. “We’re doing it voluntarily,” DeSantis said. “They’re given everything. And that’s just, you know, it’s a humane thing to do.”
A Protest of Sorts
The Florida Governor considers his flights to be a protest against Biden’s handling of the border problem. In response to criticism by the President, DeSantis defended his actions by saying, “We will continue to use every tool at our disposal to insulate the state of Florida from the negative ramifications of his reckless border policies.”
Stricter border policies would help to protect Floridians from drug runners entering the United States, DeSantis added.
DeSantis and other Republican Governors will be sending more migrants to blue states like New York, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington. Their goal is to publicize the escalation of Southern border crossings.
The Governors hope to raise awareness of what they consider gross mismanagement of the migrant situation by the Biden administration.
Voluntary Migrant Relocation Program
In response to claims that the asylum seekers did not know where in Massachusetts they were going, DeSantis responded that they had signed waivers and received materials that included a map of Martha’s Vineyard. He said the map clearly indicated the migrants’ destination.
The Florida Governor denies that the migrants were lured to Massachusetts with promises of jobs and housing.
Massachusetts GOP Governor Charlie Baker said the migrants will be housed in dormitories at Joint Base Cape Cod. Local officials will provide food, shelter and other necessities while the asylum seekers plan their next steps. Massachusetts National Guard members will be on hand to assist.
State records reveal that on September 9, 2022, one week before the planes were launched, an enterprise called Vertol Systems received a payment of $615,000 from the $12 million allocated to the Florida Department of Transportation.
The Oregon-based company provides resettlement services for unauthorized aliens. However, they have not responded to messages regarding the $615,000 payment.
The Governor’s office has not responded to inquiries either, and little information is available about how that money was used.
A Washington Post reporter called Vertol headquarters, but the person who answered the call hung up on him. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist called the payment a “political stunt” that “smells of high heaven.”
Has Ron DeSantis Gone Too Far?
Many Democratic leaders believe that DeSantis did indeed go too far. White House officials and Cabinet members were already discussing litigation against several GOP Governors because of their relocation efforts. Then, DeSantis took action.
Speaking at the Four Seasons in Orlando, Gov. DeSantis said, “I do have this money. I want to be helpful. Maybe we will go to Texas and help. Maybe we’ll send to Chicago, Hollywood, Martha’s Vineyard. Who knows?”
DeSantis says that his relocation program is designed to protect the state from having to cover the costs of new immigrants. That includes Texas immigrants who intend to go to Florida later. Stopping them in Texas is easier, DeSantis said.
What Are the Democrats Saying?
Two state Democratic lawmakers are asking the Florida legislature to stop DeSantis from using taxpayer money to keep out unauthorized aliens.
Massachusetts Senate President Karen Spilka said that the flights amounted to human trafficking.
Boston immigration lawyer Susan Church, who is assisting with the asylum efforts, said on Friday that the migrants are free to go to Florida if that’s what they want.
Domingo Garcia of United Latin American Citizens is calling for the Justice Department to investigate whether the situation has connections to human trafficking.
Rachael Rollins, a U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, is questioning how DeSantis was able to send asylum seekers from Texas to Massachusetts without notifying the governments in those two states.
Rollins plans to discuss the matter with the Department of Justice. She claims that other Republican Governors are busing migrants to a variety of U.S. destinations.
The Massachusetts attorney said that there are sister communities in D.C., New York and California where these strategies are already going on. She hopes to get additional input from the Justice Department.
Immigration attorney Rachel Self in Massachusetts announced on Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had helped to process the migrants’ paperwork before they boarded the flights.
The Massachusetts attorney claimed that DHS agents had falsified documents by listing homeless shelters as the legal residences of the migrants. Self said the travelers were given inaccurate information about who they should report to after they arrived in Massachusetts.
Self described the actions of all those involved as “sickeningly cruel.” She said that the strategy was purposely designed to derail the asylum seekers in their efforts to abide by federal immigration policies.
Explore Games and Apps