(WFLA) — The debate over the migrant crisis is intensifying after Gov. Ron DeSantis flew two planes of nearly 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
The move mirrors other Republican governors who have sent migrants to other cities in response to President Joe Biden’s border policies.
48 Venezuelan migrants, as young as three years old, were flown to an island community in Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon.
“Venezuela, it’s difficult to live there,” said migrant Carlos, through a translator. “That’s why not just me, but thousands of Venezuelans looked for a way out of the country in search of a future.”
Martha’s Vineyard is now providing food and shelter.
“We are not going to forget, midterms are coming,” said Adelys Ferro, Venezuelan American Caucus. “Immigrants are at the heart of Florida. One in five Floridians is an immigrant. Stop using Venezuelans as props for your political games.”
Gov. DeSantis said the unsecured border is contributing to the fentanyl crisis.
“Every community in America should share in the burden. it shouldn’t just fall on the red states,” DeSantis said, adding that the move is meant to shift the immigration burden to democratic towns that support the Biden administration’s policies.
“What would be the best is for Biden to do his damn job and secure the border,” DeSantis said.
The governor’s office said the flights are part of Florida’s relocation program, but democratic state Rep. Dylan Fernandes said it appears the planes came from Texas.
“Hatching a secret of plot to use humans to use women, children and families as a political pawn, and a game or is herded them up, put them on an airplane lied to them about where they’re going lied to them about what would be here when they arrived and to me it is so cruel,“ Fernandes said.
Democratic candidate for governor, Charlie Crist, is also pushing back against DeSantis’ decision.
“He’s not taking into effect the human factor of these people that he has shipped up to Martha’s Vineyard,” Crist said. “It’s not well thought out. It is inhumane, clearly. It is inappropriate. It’s just dead wrong.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom called on the Department of Justice to consider federal charges.
Other Republican governors, including those in Arizona and Texas, have been bussing migrants to other U.S. cities.