TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — Democrats and Republicans continue to battle over the planeloads of migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard last week. On Tuesday, Gov. Ron DeSantis refused to confirm rumors that another plane was scheduled to arrive in Delaware.
“I cannot confirm that,” DeSantis said during a press conference centered around tax relief.
The cost of the flights has already taken center stage in the political debate over the governor’s plan.
News Channel 8 found that two payments from the Relocation Program for Unauthorized Aliens to Vertol Systems Company, Inc. collectively cost taxpayers over $1.565 million, according to state data. The first payment to fund the flights to Martha’s Vineyard cost $615,000. The second payment, filed on Sept. 19, was for $950,000.
In a press conference last week the governor said, “the legislature gave me $12 million dollars. We’re going to spend every penny of that.”
The budget was passed with bipartisan support earlier this year. However, some Democrats were uneasy about the governor’s comment.
“You’re making a decision that is not easy, but it’s for the entire budget.” Rep. Anna Eskamani said. “With that being said, the $12 million was of concern to myself.”
Meanwhile, House Democrats condemned the flights saying DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott should “start behaving like governors and stop behaving like human traffickers.”
The governor has repeatedly stated his intentions are to transport migrants to sanctuary locations where benefits and work opportunities are more abundant.
“The idea is because they have more benefits, people will be more able to stick,” DeSantis said. “If I could do it all in Florida, I would.”