White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that the administration has received reports that the “same plane” that transported illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard last week may be bringing more to “to president’s home state of Delaware.”
“We have been in close contact … with the Delaware government. We don’t know how the White House got alerted,” she said. “And I don’t have specifics on where and who alerted us. I can tell you we’ve been in close contact with the Delaware officials on the ground.”
The administration is now “working with state and local partners to help provide shelter and resources to those migrants,” Jean-Pierre said.
Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed responsibility for flying about 50 illegal aliens to Martha’s Vineyard, which triggered the governor of Massachusetts to active the state National Guard. Within hours, those people were moved from the exclusive island to a military base on Cape Cod.
Authorities in Delaware also confirmed they received reports of flights containing illegal immigrants. Officials in Rehoboth Beach, where President Joe Biden owns a home, have not yet issued a public comment on the matter.
“We’re aware of the reports and continue to prepare for the possibility of migrants arriving in Delaware unannounced,” Democratic Gov. John Carney’s director of communications, Emily Hershman, told Fox News. “Our teams at [Delaware Emergency Management Agency] and [Delaware Department of Health and Social Services] are working with community organizations and other partners to make sure that migrants who arrive here have the support that they need.”
‘Opening People’s Eyes’
DeSantis, who is up for reelection in November and is seen as a possible presidential contender in 2024, joins Republican governors from Texas and Arizona in sending illegal migrants to Democratic-controlled cities, in an effort to criticize the Biden administration’s handling of the U.S.–Mexico border where there have been a record number of crossings.
Illegal immigration became a central theme of the 2016 election when then-candidate Donald Trump signaled he would construct a border wall to stave off the unfettered flow of people coming from Mexico. The federal government has the sole power to deport people and sets immigration laws, whereas governors have fewer options.
Upon taking office last year, Biden issued a series of executive orders that dismantled a number of Trump’s immigration rules. That included ending the construction of the U.S.–Mexico wall, raising the refugee resettlement ceiling, and lifting other barriers to U.S. entry.
Texas, which has sent more than 11,000 migrants to Washington D.C. and New York City since April, stepped up its campaign in recent days, dropping illegal aliens off near the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington.
“I think it’s opening people’s eyes to the solution, which is let’s have a secure border,” DeSantis said in a press conference Tuesday.
Hours before that, on Monday evening, the Florida governor told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the illegal immigrants who were transported to Martha’s Vineyard signed forms, disputing a claim that both he and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott are engaging in human trafficking. The Democrat sheriff in Bexar County, Texas, alleged that one illegal alien was paid to recruit the others, and they were allegedly promised work or other benefits.
But DeSantis disputed the sheriff’s allegation and said the flights were “clearly voluntary.”
Those illegal aliens, he added, “were in really, really bad shape” before stating that “there are jobs available in Martha’s Vineyard. There is lodging available in Martha’s Vineyard.”
Reuters contributed to this report.