The migrants Gov. Ron DeSantis flew to Martha's Vineyard on taxpayer dollars were relocated from Texas, not Florida

2022/08/24: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a campaign stop on the Keep Florida Free Tour at the Horsepower Ranch in Geneva.
2022/08/24: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to supporters at a campaign stop on the Keep Florida Free Tour at the Horsepower Ranch in Geneva.Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images
  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chartered two planes carrying migrants to Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday.

  • The migrants were picked up from San Antonio, Texas, the governor's office confirmed.

  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott first began transporting migrants to other states in April.

The migrants who Gov. Ron DeSantis flew to Martha's Vineyard this week were not transported from the state he actually governs, but from Texas.

DeSantis's office confirmed that Florida chartered two planes on Wednesday to pick up about 50 undocumented migrants from San Antonio, Texas, and drop them off on the Massachusetts island, the Orlando Sentinel reported. The migrants were from Venezuela and Colombia.

A spokesperson for DeSantis said the planes were part of Florida's "relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations."

It was the latest example of a tactic being used by Republican lawmakers to draw attention to what they say is the Biden administration's failure to address the border.

Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas first began transporting migrants from border towns to cities like Washington, DC, via bus in April. Abbott said he was chartering the buses "to help local officials whose communities are being overwhelmed by hordes of illegal immigrants who are being dropped off by the Biden administration."

Florida, which migrants reach via boat, does not directly border Mexico (a major pathway for migrants on land), perhaps explaining why DeSantis arranged to transport migrants who had arrived in Texas, a state that's hundreds of miles away.

"We will help facilitate that transportation for you to go to greener pastures," DeSantis said of migrants at a press conference Thursday, the Sentinel reported.

One immigration lawyer told the outlet that DeSantis's actions, using state funds to enforce federal laws, may have been illegal.

Martha's Vineyard residents, for their part, welcomed the migrants by quickly coordinating shelter, meals, and healthcare. Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes said the migrants were put up in a local church and shared photos of the temporary housing.

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