According to FlightRadar24 and Newsweek, this is the same aircraft that Florida used to fly migrants to the tiny island of Martha’s Vineyard. Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office sent two flights to the island, saying they were part of the state’s “relocation program” that intends to send migrants to “sanctuary destinations.”
NewsNation also called the charter company, which would not comment on the plane or its contents. NewsNation will continue to confirm who is on the plane.
The plane, given the designation J328, is scheduled to leave Texas at 9 a.m. ET Tuesday and fly to Florida, according to Newsweek.. After a layover, the plane will then travel to Sussex County, Delaware. The airport is less than an hour drive from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where Biden has a home.
A total of $950,000 was allocated to the “relocation program of unauthorized aliens,” according to Florida’s budget website, which could be used to charter the plane. More than $600,000 was previously allocated on Sept. 8.
The migrants allegedly being relocated are asylum seekers who are now permitted to stay in the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until their petitions to stay in the country go through the system. The migrants have escalated a gubernatorial feud and brought a humanitarian crisis across the country.
This comes as a Texas sheriff Monday opened an investigation into the two migrant flights sent by DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, an elected Democrat, said investigators had so far only spoken to attorneys representing some of the migrants and did not name any potential suspects who might face charges. He also did not mention DeSantis in a news conference that appeared to mark the first time a law enforcement official has said they would look into the flights.
“I believe there is some criminal activity involved here,” Salazar said. “But at present we are trying to keep an open mind and we are going to investigate to find out what exact laws were broken if that does turn out to be the case.”
DeSantis’ office responded with a statement that said the migrants had been given more options to succeed in Massachusetts.
“Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and ‘left to fend for themselves,’” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said. “Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected.”
The relocation crisis began in spring, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to send busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C. and New York City, in response to President Joe Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted migrant entry numbers. Abbott recently began busing migrants to Chicago this summer.
Last week, migrants were dropped off Vice President Kamala Harris’s Washington, D.C., residence
CBP announced Monday that for the first time ever, the total number of migrant encounters at the southern border has surpassed 2 million in a single fiscal year. Border Patrol agents encountered more than 203,000 migrants in August alone, per the latest figures released Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.