Oct 9, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Ron DeSantis' migrant flights questioned after new documents released

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks in a neighborhood impacted by Hurricane Ian at Fisherman's Wharf in Fort Myers, Florida, on October 5, 2022

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks in Fort Myers, Fla., on Oct. 5. Photo: Olivier Douliery Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) bid to transport migrants last month may have gone beyond the extent of an original program designed by the state, the Washington Post reports from new state records.

Driving the news: The state program, launched in July, was intended to “relocate out of the state of Florida foreign nationals who are not lawfully present in the United States," the Post reports.

  • The state program did not mention the potential of transporting migrants from Texas, the Post notes from records released by the Florida Department of Transportation and the governor’s office.
  • The state records also show that Florida paid Vertol Systems, an Oregon-based charter airline company, $615,000 for the September flights to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. That equals to about $12,300 for each of the 50 migrants on board the two flights.
  • DeSantis' team did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: State Sen. Jason Pizzo (D) sued DeSantis and other state officials over the bid to transport migrants, saying it violated the state program because the migrants were not in the country illegally and their flight did not originate in Florida.

  • DeSantis has defended his controversial program, saying: "Most of them are intending to come to Florida," the Post reports.
  • “Our view is you have to deal with it at the source," he said during a news conference in DaytonaBeach, Florida.

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