| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Florida governor defends migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard, suggests more to come

Florida’s Republican governor on Friday defended his decision to fly dozens of migrants to the wealthy vacation island of Martha’s Vineyard from Texas, and said similar actions could follow as a political dispute over border security deepened in the run-up to U.S. elections in November.

DeSantis claimed credit for a pair of chartered flights on Wednesday that carried around 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, as part of a broader Republican effort to shift responsibility for border crossers to Democratic leaders.

At a news conference in Daytona Beach, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis blamed Democratic President Joe 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.

DeSantis said the Florida Legislature set aside $12 million to transport migrants out of the state and that his government would likely use the funds “to protect Florida.”

The state paid $615,000 to Vertol Systems Company Inc, an aviation business, on Sept. 8 as part of a “relocation program of unauthorized aliens,” Florida state data showed. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The flights to Martha’s Vineyard follow a busing effort by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, another Republican, that has sent more than 10,000 migrants to the Democrat-controlled cities of Washington, New York and Chicago since April. The Republican governor of Arizona also has sent more than 1,800 migrants to Washington.

  • Reuters