PUNTA GORDA, Fla.–Gov. Ron DeSantis responded to criticism about his sending illegal aliens to affluent Martha’s Vineyard by calling out the cities that “beat their chest” proclaiming they're a sanctuary for those crossing the border illegally.
“All those people in DC and New York were beating their chests when Trump was president saying they were so proud to be sanctuary jurisdictions— saying how bad it was to have a secure border. The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk and they're so upset that this is happening,” DeSantis said at the press conference on Sept. 15 in Okaloosa County. “It just shows, you know, their virtue signaling is a fraud.”
DeSantis responded to a reporter’s question about the two planes of approximately 50 Venezuelan illegal immigrants he directed to land at Martha’s Vineyard, described as a "hideaway for the rich and famous," on Sept. 14. This action follows the governor's promise to send illegals to Democrat-controlled areas.
“In Florida, we take what is happening at the southern border seriously,” he said. “We are not a sanctuary state, and we will gladly facilitate the transport of illegal immigrants to sanctuary jurisdictions.”
According to flight records, the charter flights originated in Texas and made a stop to pick up migrants from Florida’s panhandle.
Taryn Fenske, the governor’s communications director, said in a written statement on Sept. 14 that the flights were part of Florida’s “relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”
“States like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals whom 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 added.
“Florida’s immigration relocation program both targets human smugglers found in Florida and preempts others from entering,” Fenske continued.
On Sept. 15, Heather Arpin, Public Information Officer for Dukes County EMA, released a statement saying they were continuing humanitarian efforts to “individuals that arrived on the island” and thanked neighboring communities for their help.
“We are focused on meeting the immediate needs of people we are sheltering, and engaged in contingency planning if the situation changes,” she wrote.
Christina Pushaw, rapid response director for the DeSantis reelection campaign, posted on Twitter: “Martha’s Vineyard residents should be thrilled about this. They vote for sanctuary cities—they get a sanctuary city of their own. And illegal aliens will increase the town’s diversity, which is strength. Right?”