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Thursday December 8th

Florida Governor DeSantis Sends Planeload of Migrants to Martha's Vineyard

<p><em>Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is facing both praise and criticism for sending two chartered flights of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts</em> (Flickr/“<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/52252251410/in/photolist-2nBmrUo-2nBiSve-2nBdU8J-2nBiTce-2nBiY5h-2nBmshc-2nBkjNk-2m8PozU-2m8PoAR-2nBmrXE-2nBiSgM-2nBdLAK-2nBdTxk-2nBiS2P-2nBiXab-2nBiSSS-2nBkm2c-2nBiX9p-2nBkkyo-2nBmrNm-2nBmr33-2nBiS9x-2nBiT4i-2nBkkfY-2nBms1a-2nBdSRL-2nBdSQd-2m8QUKn-2nBdTBU-2nBiT8b-2nBiX2L-2nBmBNM-2nBkkPP-2nBiSps-2nBdTkg-2nBiSyW-2nBiSfe-2nBmrzk-2nBiYuv-2jpwP4j-2jpy2vx-2nBiYc6-2nBiXLw-2nBkm9B-2nBiX5M-2niavNp-2nBdLCd-2mpnL8B-2nBiT6x-2mcxde4" target="">Ron DeSantis</a>” by Gage Skidmore. July 22, 2022). </p>

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is facing both praise and criticism for sending two chartered flights of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (Flickr/“Ron DeSantis” by Gage Skidmore. July 22, 2022). 

By Elias Hunt 

Signal Contributor 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) is facing both praise and criticism for sending two chartered flights of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

The island, located just below Cape Cod on Massachusetts’ southern coast, is known as a haven for wealthy and predominantly liberal individuals. According to NPR, The Republican DeSantis claimed he chose the destination because places like Martha’s Vineyard “said they wanted this, they said they were a sanctuary jurisdiction."

The arrival of the migrants overwhelmed residents and local businesses, who provided them with clean clothes, meals and toiletries. Lisa Belcastro, who helped organize cots and supplies at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, explained her reason for helping in an interview with Reuters

“I want them to have a good life,” Belcastro said. “I want them to come to America and be embraced. They all want to work.”

The legal basis for the Florida government to round up migrants in a different state remains unclear. U.S. government attorneys are exploring possible litigation around DeSantis’ efforts, a Biden Administration official told Reuters. Javier Salazar, the Sheriff of Bexar County, Texas where the migrants were flown from, said in a statement on Sept. 19 that his office was opening up a criminal investigation on the treatment of the migrants, according to NPR

Salazar described what he knew about the situation. 

“What we understand is a Venezuelan migrant was paid a bird-dog fee to recruit 50 migrants who were then were lured — and I will use the word 'lured' under false pretenses — to staying in a hotel for a few days, then taken to an airplane where they were flown to Florida and then Martha's Vineyard under false pretenses of being offered jobs,” Salazar said. “For what we can gather, a little more than a photo op, a video op and then they were left there.”

DeSantis denies these claims, saying that all those aboard the planes had signed consent forms and were given directions and maps of Martha’s Vineyard before arrival.

Illegal immigration has been a major part of DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign, as it was for fellow Republican and Former President Donald Trump, who has endorsed the Florida governor multiple times. This event once again thrusts the issue of migration into national spotlight just over a month away from midterm elections in November, in which DeSantis is up for reelection. It is unclear if it will remain this way, as voters are still focused on the state of the economy and abortion rights. 

DeSantis has been a very outspoken critic of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. At a news conference in Daytona Beach, DeSantis blamed Biden for what he portrayed as a failure to stop migrants from crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, as a record 1.8 million have been arrested this fiscal year, according to Reuters.

In the days following the migrants’ arrival, DeSantis has received standing ovations at several events for Republican candidates across the country. As liberals continue to condemn the action and the question of legal action remains, the results of the midterm election hang in the balance.




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