Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) responded Monday night to a Texas Democrat sheriff who announced during a press conference earlier in the day that his office was opening an investigation into the flights that took 50 illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard last week.
DeSantis told Fox News host Sean Hannity that the vendor who was contracted with the state of Florida gave the illegal immigrants packets that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard and the numbers for different services on the island and that the flights were voluntary.
“Millions of people since Biden has been president illegally coming across the southern border. Did they freak out about that? No,” DeSantis said. “You’ve had migrants die in the Rio Grande. You had 50 die in Texas in a trailer because they were being neglected. Was there a freak out about that? No, there wasn’t.”
“You’ve had criminal aliens get across that southern border, and victimize Americans, killing some, raping some, was there any type of outrage about that? No,” DeSantis continued. “And then of course, we know fentanyl deaths are at an all time high. Where’s that fentanyl coming from? It’s coming over the open southern border.”
Addressing the specifics of how the flights took place, DeSantis said that the illegal immigrants “all signed consent forms to go.”
“And then the vendor that is doing this for Florida, provided them with a packet that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard, it had the numbers for different services on Martha’s Vineyard and then it had numbers for the overall agencies in Massachusetts that handle things involving immigration and refugees,” DeSantis said. “So, it was clearly voluntary, and all the other nonsense you’re hearing is just not true.”
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar claimed that the migrants were “lured” into making the flight, even though a Florida publication reported that they obtained a brochure given to the illegal immigrants that showed that Massachusetts is where they were going. He did not name any suspects and admitted that he could not name any laws that were broken.
“That does tend to bother me quite a bit,” Salazar said. “And so we are absolutely opening up an investigation into this.”
“I believe people need to be held accountable for it to the extent possible,” he said. “At this point, I’m not able to definitively say here’s the statute that they broke either federal, state or local. But what I can tell you is it’s wrong just from a human rights perspective, what was done to these folks is wrong.”
A spokesperson for DeSantis responded to Salazar’s remarks by saying in a statement: “Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and ‘left to fend for themselves.’”
“Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected,” the spokesperson continued. “Unless the MA national guard has abandoned these individuals, they have been provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing and more options to succeed following their unfair enticement into the United States, unlike the 53 immigrants who died in a truck found abandoned in Bexar County this June.”