Updated Feb 15, 2023 - Politics & Policy
DeSantis signs bill to move out-of-state migrants to blue states
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Wednesday signed into law a bill to expand a controversial state program used to relocate migrants from anywhere in the country to Democratic-led cities.
The big picture: The program, which now gains an additional $10 million in funding, faced intense backlash after Florida officials were accused of misleading migrants and promising false incentives.
- DeSantis and other Republicans have argued that the program is an effective way of tackling a surge in migration to the U.S.-Mexico border that has overwhelmed southern states, but immigration advocates counter that the practice is dehumanizing and uses migrants as political pawns.
- The governor faced scrutiny after he used state funding to fly migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts even though the program only set aside money to relocate migrants from within Florida.
What he's saying: "Florida is using all tools available to protect our citizens from Biden's open border policies," DeSantis tweeted after signing the bill into law. "I thank the legislature for maintaining this valuable tool."
Worth noting: The program already faces several legal challenges.
- One lawsuit challenges the constitutionality of the legislation, highlighting the fact that the language used in the budget for the initial program specifies that the money will help transport migrants out of Florida — not necessarily Texas.
- The undocumented migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard also filed a class action lawsuit against DeSantis and other Florida officials.
- A federal watchdog and the D.C. attorney general have both launched investigations into the transports.
Go deeper: What we know about Texas and Florida's transport of migrants