The news this week featured Florida Governor Ron Desantis flying a plane full of Venezuelan refugees to the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard so that he wouldn’t have to deal with them in Florida. Desantis pledges that he will use every penny of the $12MMbudgeted for migrants in Florida’s budget to relocate migrants and send them out of his state via bus or plane. To start with, he sent these 50 immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, without even telling anyone the migrants were en route. This came about because Florida has people on the ground in Texas who profile migrants heading to Florida, as many immigrants want to end up in Florida. The informants stopped the migrants and shipped them off to Martha’s Vineyard instead.
“These are just the beginning efforts,” the Republican governor said. “We’ve got an infrastructure in place now. There’s goingto be a lot more that’s happening.” Florida has hired a contractor to coordinate the state’s relocation efforts in Texas, but Desantis is also willing to work with Texas GOP Governor Greg Abbott to transport future immigrants. “We may collaborate,” DeSantis said.
If he could, DeSantis said, “I would send [them] back to Mexico or back to the home country.” In this case, it seems as though the migrants were from Venezuela. Desantis is looking to his GOP base with his migrant moves, as he faces reelection and 2024. He also refuted statements that the migrants had no idea where they were going, and said that the migrants DID know where they were going, as they had a map with them and a signed waiver.
“It’s obvious that’s where they were going,” he said, adding, “It’s all voluntary.” In Florida this year, $12MM of the state’s budget is earmarked for moving migrants out of the state, and Desantis said these “unauthorized aliens” will be moved.
“So we’ve been interdicting people on a onesie, twosie basis,” DeSantis said. “And we said, OK, so we’ve had people in Texas for months, trying to figure out how are these people getting into Florida? What’s the movement? And the reality is 40% of them say they want to go to Florida. And so that’s a lot. I mean, we talk about all those people, but the problem is that they’re coming in through with like three people in a car and they go through, it’s hard for us to know, because they’re just coming into the state like any other car, so there’s not a big movement.”
Desantis has made it clear that he does not want the 40% in his state, and will work hard to evict them, sometimes even before they arrive. “So they’ve been in Texas, identifying people that are trying to come to Florida and then offering them free transportation to sanctuary jurisdictions. And so they went from Texas to Florida, to Martha’s Vineyard in the flight.
”According to Advisor to Berkeley Capital Adnan Zai, “Shipping people like cargo is plain wrong, period. Especially when you’re doing it to prove apolitical point. You are not fit for any office with inhumane views like that.”
Luckily there were a bevy of helpers meeting the migrant people in Martha’s Vineyard, and they are currently well on their way to getting the help they need, no thanks to Desantis.