Updated Sep 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

White House "coordinating" with Delaware for possible migrant plane

 White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaking during a briefing in August 2022.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The White House said Tuesday it is "coordinating closely" with state and local officials in Delaware to prepare for the possible arrival of a plane from Texas carrying migrants.

Why it matters: The potential flight to Delaware comes less than a week after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took credit for organizing two previous flights from Texas carrying mostly Venezuelan asylum-seekers to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts.

What they're saying: A spokesperson for Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) said the state's emergency management agency and health and social services department were preparing with community organizations ahead of the possible flight "to make sure that migrants who arrive here have the support that they need."

  • "We are coordinating with Federal officials and are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims," Emily David Hershman, Carney's director of communications, said in a statement Tuesday.
  • The Biden administration has "received word of the flights," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a briefing on Tuesday.
  • "We are coordinating closely with state officials and local service providers who are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims."

The other side: DeSantis said at an event Tuesday that he could not confirm whether he was involved in organizing the possible flight.

  • Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R), who praised the flights to Martha's Vineyard, said in a tweet last week that Rehoboth Beach was "next."
  • President Biden has a beach house near the town of Rehoboth Beach.

When asked Tuesday about the situation at the U.S. border, President Biden said fewer migrants are arriving in the U.S. from Mexico and Central American countries and more are coming from Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, and attempting to send them back to those countries "is not rational."

  • "We're working with Mexico and other countries to see if we can stop the flow," Biden said.
  • Customs and Border Protection said Monday it has recorded over 2 million encounters at the U.S.-Mexico border so far this fiscal year, which is a new record for the agency.

The big picture: DeSantis, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) have so far transported more than 10,000 migrants to liberal enclaves to protest the Biden administration's border policies, which they claim are too lax.

  • Lawyers representing the people flown to Martha's Vineyard last week called on the Massachusetts and federal governments to open criminal investigations into the flights, saying their clients were "induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretenses" and promises of immigration assistance and employment services.
  • A Texas sheriff announced Monday he opened a criminal investigation into the flights, saying the migrants were "lured" onto a flight to Florida, then another flight to Massachusetts.
  • DeSantis said the migrants had volunteered to take the flights and signed consent forms.

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