Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Defends Actions Regarding Migrant Transportation
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has defended his state’s recent transport of undocumented migrants from Texas to Sacramento. He expressed his lack of sympathy for “sanctuary states” like California, which limit cooperation with federal immigration agencies. The California Attorney General, Rob Bonta, has mentioned the possibility of investigating criminal or civil action against those involved in transporting the migrants, potentially including Florida.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has criticized DeSantis, suggesting that he could be charged with kidnapping. Newsom referred to the migrants as “human beings used as pawns for a guy’s political advancement.” DeSantis indirectly referenced the differing approaches to immigration policies between the two states, highlighting the challenges faced due to open border policies and criticizing the previous administration’s efforts to establish border security.
During a roundtable discussion with sheriffs in Sierra Vista, Arizona, near the U.S.-Mexico border, DeSantis announced an inter-state partnership with several GOP-led states to address migration and the spread of fentanyl. As a presidential candidate, DeSantis has been vocal about his hardline immigration rhetoric and policies, including shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border and completing the border wall.
DeSantis has criticized President Biden’s handling of the southern border, calling it a “massive dereliction of duty.” He pledged to prioritize border security and territorial integrity if elected as president. The governor has also highlighted his deployment of Florida law enforcement to the Texas border and his transportation of Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Other Republican presidential candidates, such as Senator Tim Scott and former Ambassador Nikki Haley, have also addressed border security in their campaigns. DeSantis’ roundtable discussion focused on his official duties as governor, not his campaign.
Recently, Florida’s Department of Emergency Management organized chartered flights to transport migrants from Texas to Sacramento. The Florida Department of State confirmed its involvement in the flights and shared video evidence of migrants providing consent to be transported. The migrants were safely delivered to a nonprofit organization funded by the federal government, Catholic Charities.
While some mayors in cities like El Paso and Denver have supported the relocation of migrants, the transportation of migrants to a sanctuary city like Sacramento has faced criticism. The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas recommended criminal charges against DeSantis for the migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard in 2022.
Attorneys representing the migrants transported to Martha’s Vineyard claimed that those taken to Sacramento were “abandoned at the doorstep of a church without any prior notice.” This mirrors the experience of the migrants transported to Massachusetts.
The Trump and DeSantis campaigns have engaged in a debate over who is more conservative on immigration. Trump has promised to end birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized immigrants, while DeSantis has accused Trump of supporting amnesty in 2018 through a congressional proposal.
Trump’s super PAC, “MAGA Inc.,” released a statement questioning DeSantis’ commitment to border security, highlighting his vote against the 2018 proposal and stating that he “can’t be trusted to secure the border.”