DeSantis Sends Illegal Immigrants on Flights to Martha’s Vineyard

DeSantis Sends Illegal Immigrants on Flights to Martha’s Vineyard
Illegal immigrants gather, after being flown in from Texas on a flight funded by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on Sept. 15, 2022. (Vineyard Gazette/Handout via Reuters)
Frank Fang

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has sent two planes of illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, following through on his plan to send illegal aliens to Democrat-controlled areas.

Taryn Fenske, the governor’s communications director, told media outlets in a 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 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,” she said.

Fenske pointed out that Florida’s Republican-controlled Legislature has handed DeSantis $12 million to transport illegal immigrants out of the state. When the governor made the budget request in December, he named Martha’s Vineyard as one of the destinations for sending illegal aliens, as well as President Joe Biden’s home state of Delaware.
Martha’s Vineyard—where former President Barack Obama bought a $12 million estate in 2019—is an island south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

“Florida’s immigration relocation program both targets human smugglers found in Florida and preempts others from entering,” Fenske said.

About 50 illegal aliens from Venezuela, some of them children, arrived at Martha’s Vineyard on Sept. 14 via charter flights, according to Boston-based broadcaster WCVB 5, citing state Sen. Julian Cyr, a Democrat who represents Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket.
The Dukes County Emergency Management Association wrote on Twitter on Sept. 14 that it was seeking volunteers and opening emergency shelters on Martha’s Vineyard “due to an unexpected urgent #humanitarian situation.”

Terry MacCormack, press secretary for Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, said in a statement to media outlets that his administration “is in touch with local officials regarding the arrival of migrants in Martha’s Vineyard.”

“At this time, short-term shelter services are being provided by local officials, and the Administration will continue to support those efforts,” MacCormack wrote.

Texas and Arizona

DeSantis’s move follows similar steps taken by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, as both have been sending illegal immigrants to Democrat-controlled cities in the face of a surge of aliens arriving at the U.S.–Mexico border.
On Sept. 9, Abbott announced that Texas had bused more than 7,900 illegal immigrants to the nation’s capital, more than 2,200 to New York, and more than 300 to Chicago.
According to data from Customs and Border Protection, border agents are on pace to apprehend more than 2 million illegal aliens in this fiscal year, which runs from October to September.

Following the arrival of the Venezuelan illegal immigrants in Martha’s Vineyard, Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, and Karla Hernandez, the Democratic nominee for Florida lieutenant governor, both took to Twitter to criticize DeSantis.

Crist said that DeSantis’s program was a “political stunt” and the Florida governor was trying to “score political points.”

“Venezuelan migrants who’re trying to escape a socialist dictator, thought [Nicolás] Maduro would be their biggest challenge, then came Ron DeSantis,” Hernandez wrote.

Christina Pushaw, the rapid response director for the DeSantis reelection campaign, dismissed Hernandez’s criticism, writing on Twitter: “If Governor DeSantis is truly a dictator worse than Maduro, as you claim, then he did these migrants a huge favor by chartering their flights out of scary Florida.

“Now, they get to live freely in the safe, wealthy, and extremely liberal town of Martha’s Vineyard.”

Nick Adams, author and president of the Foundation for Liberty and American Greatness, called on DeSantis to send more illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
“Make these woke liberals put their money where their mouths are!” Adams wrote on Twitter.
Frank Fang is a Taiwan-based journalist. He covers U.S., China, and Taiwan news. He holds a master's degree in materials science from Tsinghua University in Taiwan.