BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) — While announcing further proposals for tax relief in Bradenton, Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at length about his recent effort to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. The comments came during a question and answer session after the main event.
Based on information found on Transparency Florida, a government-run site showing official expenditures and programs, a payment of $950,000 was added to the list of funding delivered to the state’s “Relocation Program of Unauthorized Aliens” on Sept. 19.
The previous entry was a $615,000 payment on Sept. 8 used for the two flights from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, which the governor took credit for last week. DeSantis said in previous appearances after the flights to Martha’s Vineyard that he fully intended to use the $12 million allocated to transport the migrants, a non-recurring expense approved in the 2022-2023 state budget, House Bill 5001. So far, the total used has risen to $1.565 million.
It’s possible another flight will deliver migrants to another sanctuary city or state today, with flight information pointing to a potential arrival in Delaware, President Joe Biden’s home state. News Channel 8 has reached out to the governor’s office and the Florida Department of Transportation about the flights.
At the event, DeSantis said he was unable to confirm if a chartered flight on Tuesday was set to take migrants from Texas to Delaware.
“When Biden is flying these people all over the fruited plain in the middle of the night, I didn’t hear a peep out of those people, I didn’t hear a peep,” DeSantis said. “I haven’t heard a peep about all of the people that have been told by Biden that they can just come in. They’re going, they’re being abused by the cartels, they’re drowning in the Rio Grande. You had 50 that died in some shed in Texas. I heard no outrage about any of that. I have heard no outrage about all of the fentanyl that’s coming over the border that’s killing Americans in record numbers. I don’t hear outrage about the criminal aliens that have gotten through and have then victimized people not only in Florida but all throughout the country. I didn’t hear any outrage about that. I didn’t hear anyone getting upset until you had 50 that end up in Martha’s Vineyard. Then you have people get really upset.”
He said those migrants were “being treated horribly by Biden.” DeSantis said they were “hungry, homeless,” and had “no opportunity at all.” The governor said all of those transported were voluntary, and blamed Biden policies like Remain in Mexico and sanctuary jurisdictions for the issues being seen.
“They were provided an ability to be in the most posh sanctuary jurisdiction in the world, and obviously it’s sad that Martha’s Vineyard deported them the next day,” DeSantis said. “They could have absorbed this, they chose not to. What it shows you is that if 50 is a burden on one of the richest places in the country, what about all of these other communities that have been overrun with hundreds or thousands?”
DeSantis said Biden couldn’t defend his open border policies and that it was costing lives and money, and damaging the country.
“Why don’t you step up and tell him ‘you’re failing’ and why aren’t we doing this differently?” DeSantis said. “Now at least we know, nobody can deny there is a crisis. Everybody now knows, and it was only because you have the elite who want to have the cost on everybody else and don’t want to have to shoulder that. That’s the only reason people want to talk about this.”
DeSantis said there were interdictions in the Florida Panhandle, but it did not stop mass migration when it was happening in “onesy-twosies.” He said the state had to figure out who wanted to come to Florida, of migrants, and who did not, then redirect them to sanctuary jurisdictions.
“If I could do it all in Florida, I would. But if you ignore the source, you’re going to have people trickling in,” DeSantis said. “But if you’re have people trickling in, five, 10, 20 a day, I don’t know, but there’s no way you can possibly track all of that because it’s such a small scale.”
Referring back to the previous migrant plane effort to Martha’s Vineyard, DeSantis said having an option to redirect and the infrastructure to do so was not just restricted to flying migrants to sanctuary cities. He said there was also a ground effort, thanks to work by the Florida Legislature.
“It’s already made more of an impact than anyone thought it could possibly make, but we’re going to continue to make more of an impact, and at the end of the day, what we’re doing is not the ultimate solution,” DeSantis said. “I think what it’s doing is opening people’s eyes to the solution. Which is let’s have a secure border, let’s have remain in Mexico, let’s take the cartels seriously, let’s get with the program here. What they have been doing for a year and a half, or more than that, is basically ignoring that the problem exists. And I know a lot of the national, corporate press doesn’t like to talk about it.”
He said he didn’t expect anything to change immediately but that it would be a big deal during the November midterm elections.
“This isn’t an example of, ‘Hey, he tried his best and it didn’t work.’ This was an intentional policy to reverse policies that were effective” DeSantis said. “They wanna talk about how sending a bus from Texas was a stunt. The biggest stunt was Biden coming in as president and reversing Trump’s policies just so he could virtue signal that he was against Trump. It didn’t matter that the policy had worked, he had to be anti.”
DeSantis said Biden’s efforts had been done, knowing what the “devastating” impact would be, and saying he wanted more coverage of fentanyl’s destructive effects on America. DeSantis said leaders like President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela and other “leftist dictators” had used the current border policies to release criminals from Venezuelan prisons and send them to the U.S. southern border.
“We already know you’ve had people victimized by criminal aliens that have come across the border,” DeSantis said. “The reason why those crimes are so difficult to stomach, is that if the federal government had just done its job, the crimes wouldn’t have happened.”
DeSantis said that what the Martha’s Vineyard event showed was that if the wealthiest areas in the U.S. can’t accommodate 50 migrants, how are other communities supposed to accommodate even more.
“I think is what it’s shown is when you have the sheer numbers of people, coming across illegally, even if you take out the criminal aliens,” DeSantis said. “Just the sheer numbers, it’s just such a stress on communities.”