Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faces further legal challenges after participating in a vicious political stunt that involved luring migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretences last week.
Florida State Sen. Jason Pizzo (D) sued the Republican governor and other state officials on Thursday, alleging their actions in the scheme violated state law. It aims to prohibit DeSantis from continuing to transfer migrants.
Pizzo said DeSantis used public funds to help pay for the transportation costs of two planes carrying about 50 migrants to Massachusetts.
Although there is a provision in the state budget allocating $12 million for “a program to facilitate the transportation of unauthorized aliens from this state in accordance with federal law”, in this case migrants weren’t in Florida to begin with.
The only time the migrants were in the Sunshine State was when the two planes landed at a Florida airport before departing for Massachusetts.
In addition, migrants are legally allowed to stay in the country while their applications for asylum or other relief are being processed.
“Senator Pizzo never misses a chance for his 15 minutes of fame and challenges an action on a credit he voted for,” DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske told CNN Thursday.
Besides DeSantis, the other three defendants named in the lawsuit are Florida chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis; the State Department of Transportation; and Jared W. Purdue, the department head.
Three Venezuelan migrants who were flown to the island on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against DeSantis and others involved in carrying out the scheme.
“These immigrants, who are seeking appropriate avenues to gain legal immigration status in the United States, have experienced cruelty similar to that which they fled in their home country,” the lawsuit states.
The three migrants described how they were tricked by hired scouts who offered free housing and the promise of legal work papers if they boarded planes, which they were told would take them to Washington, D.C. DC and Boston. Instead, planes flew them to the remote island of Martha’s Vineyard without first notifying local authorities, and where no arrangements had been made to house them.
But the locals rose to the challenge.
“Our island has sprang into action by bringing together 50 beds, giving everyone a good meal, providing a play area for the kids, making sure people have the healthcare and support they need. need,” Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes (D) wrote on Twitter. “We are a community that comes together to support immigrants.
Fernandes has also appeal to the Ministry of Justice to launch an investigation into DeSantis’ actions.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas is investigating the operation.
DeSantis has been touted as a likely 2024 presidential candidate for the Republican Party.