State Watch

DeSantis sends migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) flew two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., on Wednesday, intensifying a fight in which high-profile GOP governors have been sending migrants to liberal enclaves.

A spokesperson for DeSantis, considered a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2024, said the migrants were flown on two chartered planes. 

“Florida can confirm the two planes with illegal immigrants that arrived in Martha’s Vineyard today were part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske told The Hill. 

DeSantis has been sending migrants to “sanctuary” cities or states that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Massachusetts state Sen. Julian Cyr (D), who represents Martha’s Vineyard, said in an interview that the flights carried nearly 50 migrants. Cyr said the flights originated from San Antonio, Texas, but made several stops along the way.

“They were actually approached and misled by a woman that they called Perla, who essentially said, ‘Hey, if you come, you’ll get work papers and housing,’” Cyr said.

The island, just south of Cape Cod, is a popular summer vacation area frequented by a number of Democratic power players, including former President Obama.

Fenske said that states like Massachusetts, New York and California are better suited to take care of the migrants because of their more lax immigration policies, noting their support for what he described as the Biden administration’s open border policies. 

“As you know, in this past legislative session the Florida legislature appropriated $12 million to implement a program to facilitate the transport of illegal immigrants from this state consistent with federal law,” Fenske said. 

Local emergency management services have called the situation “an unexpected urgent humanitarian situation.”   

Massachusetts state Rep. Dylan Fernandes (D) said that many of the migrants don’t know where they are. 

“They say they were told they would be given housing and jobs. Islanders [were] given no notice but are coming together as a community to support them,” Fernandes wrote on Twitter Wednesday.

“Republicans who call themselves Christians have been plotting for some time to use human lives — men, women, and children — as a political pawns. It is evil and inhumane,” Fernandes added

In a statement to Fox News, a spokesperson for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) said that they are aware of the situation and have provided Martha’s Vineyard officials with short-term shelter services as well. 

DeSantis and fellow GOP Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona have been sending migrants to northern, Democratic-run cities in protest of Biden’s efforts to end Title 42, a Trump-era policy that blocked migrants from seeking asylum over pandemic concerns.

DeSantis had last year proposed a program to transport migrants out of Florida by contracting with private companies and named Martha’s Vineyard as a potential destination, according to the Tampa Bay Times. 

Updated at 1:58 p.m.

Tags Chicago Doug Ducey Dylan Fernandes Fox News Greg Abbott Julian Cyr Martha's Vineyard Martha's Vineyard Times Martha's Vineyard Massachusetts New York City Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis Tampa Bay Times Washington D.C.
See all Hill.TV See all Video