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Florida Gov. DeSantis Takes Aim at 'Sanctuary States,' Flies Two Planes of Migrants to Martha's Vineyard

DeSantis Migrants

Gov. Ron DeSantis has followed through on his promise to fight the flow of immigrants coming into Florida illegally, sending two planes carrying migrants to Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday.

Last December, the governor announced plans to protect Floridians from the ongoing border crisis as millions of migrants have crossed the southern U.S. border in record-breaking fashion over the past year.

"We have a responsibility to stand up for the rule of law, we have a responsibility to the Constitution, and we have a responsibility to stand up against an administration that has decided they don't want to have a secure border," he said.

Flights to the upscale Martha's Vineyard island in Massachusetts were part of an effort to "transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations," said Taryn Fenske, DeSantis' communications director.

Massachusetts' Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, said he was in touch with local officials and that short-term shelter was being provided.

State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha's Vineyard, tweeted: "Our island jumped into action putting together 50 beds, giving everyone a good meal, providing a play area for the children, making sure people have the healthcare and support they need. We are a community that comes together to support immigrants."


The Florida governor is not the only state official ramping up efforts to combat the Biden administration's border policy.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began busing thousands of migrants to Washington, DC in April and recently added New York and Chicago as destinations. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has been busing migrants to Washington since May. Passengers must sign waivers that the free trips are voluntary.

Today, Texas reportedly sent two buses with more than 100 migrants to the doorstep of Vice President Kamala Harris' house in DC. A Fox News reporter said one migrant told him he believes the border is "open."

Critics argue Martha's Vineyard, whose small ritzy, enclave is home to about 15,000, is far less prepared than New York or Washington for large influxes of migrants. But only 50 migrants landed there – a very small number compared to the hundreds of thousands that have arrived in Texas and Arizona.

DeSantis' office pointed out that since progressive states have been supportive of the migrant influx, Florida is taking them up on their offer to be sanctuary destinations. 

"States like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as 'sanctuary states' and support for the Biden Administration's open border policies," Fenske said.

DeSantis' office noted that the Florida Legislature appropriated $12 million to transport illegal immigrants from the state consistent with federal law.

They did not clarify on the legal status of the migrants, but many who cross the border from Mexico illegally are temporarily shielded from deportation after being freed by U.S. authorities to pursue asylum in immigration court — as allowed under U.S law and international treaty — or released on humanitarian parole.

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