Florida governor Ron DeSantis hit back at news that a Texas sheriff had launched a criminal investigation into his flying 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, pointing out that there was less outrage when 50 migrants died in a truck in Texas over the summer.
Speaking with Sean Hannity on Monday night, DeSantis said the situation of the migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard paled in comparison to migrant issues in border towns across the country.
‘Millions of people since Biden’s been president illegally coming across the southern border. Did they Freak out about that? No,’ he said. ‘You’ve had migrants die in the Rio Grande. You had fifty die in Texas in a trailer because they were being neglected.’ was there a freak out about that? No, there wasn’t.’
DeSantis’ comments come after Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said his office was conducting the criminal investigation to see if the migrants were intentionally lured to the Vineyard with false promises of financial and employment assistance which were waiting for them on the Massachusetts vacation island.
In a news conference announcing the investigation, the Democrat elected Salazar derided the flights that took off in his city as political posturing. But he said investigators had so far only spoken to attorneys representing some of the migrants and did not name any potential suspects who might face charges.
He also did not mention DeSantis in a news conference that appeared to mark the first time a law enforcement official has said they would look into the flights.
‘I believe there is some criminal activity involved here,’ Salazar said. ‘But at present we are trying to keep an open mind and we are going to investigate to find out what exact laws were broken if that does turn out to be the case.’
News of the investigation comes as attorneys representing some of the migrants sent to the Vineyard released images of the brochure they were allegedly given, which described the myriad of assistance programs they would be met with upon their arrival on the Vineyard – despite islanders unanimously saying they received no warning the migrants were coming.
The migrants were handed brochures titled ‘Massachusetts Refugee Benefits’ and bearing a picture of Edgartown Lighthouse on the cover
In both Spanish and English, the brochure described migrant benefits such as ‘up to 8 months of cash assistance,’ ‘assistance with housing,’ clothing and food, and ‘job placement, retention and upgrade services’
A Texas sheriff is launching a probe into whether the 50 Venezuelan migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard on Florida governor Ron DeSantis’ orders were victims of a crime
The Venezuelan migrants who were flown to the wealthy Massachusetts island from San Antonio on Wednesday said they were told they were going to Boston. Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants, said they ‘had no idea of where they were going or where they were.’
He said a Latina woman approached migrants at a city-run shelter in San Antonio and put them up at a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she visited daily with food and gift cards. She promised jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, according to Henriquez.
The migrants were also handed brochures titled ‘Massachusetts Refugee Benefits’ and bearing a picture of Edgartown Lighthouse on the cover.
In both Spanish and English, the brochure described migrant benefits such as ‘up to 8 months of cash assistance,’ ‘assistance with housing,’ clothing and food, and ‘job placement, retention and upgrade services.’
Beyond those services not being available and prepared when the migrants arrived on the Vineyard, the title of the brochure referring to its resources as being for ‘refugees’ did not apply to the migrants, who were officially considered asylum seekers.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar opened an investigation into the flying of 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard
DeSantis defended his actions and claimed that the migrants knew exactly where they were going and voluntarily signed up for the trip
About 150 National Guard members were called in to transport the migrants from the island to the Cape Cod Military base 32 miles away
Salazar said the migrants had been ‘preyed upon’ and ‘hoodwinked.’
Some Democrats have urged the Justice Department to investigate the flights, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and US Rep. Joaquin Castro, whose district includes San Antonio.
A federal investigation might be complicated, however. It’s not clear whether anyone boarded buses or planes unwillingly, or that their civil rights were violated.
The rights of asylum seekers arriving to the US are also more limited because they are not citizens. The constitution, though, does protect them from discrimination based on race or national origin and from improper treatment by the government.
DeSantis’ office responded with a statement that said the migrants had been given more options to succeed in Massachusetts.
‘Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and left to fend for themselves,’ DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said. ‘Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected.
As Sheriff Salazar announced his investigation, California governor Gavin Newsom called for an investigation into DeSantis’ stunt, despite previously running his own initiative to bus homeless people away from San Francisco.
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Newsom demanded a criminal probe into Florida’s airlift, calling it a ‘morally reprehensible’ and possibly illegal attempt to ‘humiliate and dehumanize’ the group of about 50 migrants.
DeSantis fired back at a press conference, saying Newsom’s ‘hair gel is interfering with his brain function’. Both governors are considered likely contenders for their respective parties’ presidential nominations in the coming cycles.
Meanwhile, some of Newsom’s critics have pointed out when he was mayor of San Francisco more than a decade ago, he spearheaded the program that offered free one-way Greyhound tickets.
The initiative, dubbed ‘Homeward Bound’, was described as Newsom’s ‘brainchild’ in 2006 NPR report, which quoted him as praising the program for helping people ‘turn their lives around.’
California Governor Gavin Newsom (left) has been engaged in a public war of words with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (right) after last week’s high-profile flights carrying Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard
In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Newsom demanded a criminal probe into Florida’s airlift, calling it ‘morally reprehensible’ and possibly illegal
The contrast led some critics to accuse Newsom of double standards, with conservative commentator Rusty Weiss writing in a column: ‘if shipping people out of state to try and give them a better life amounts to ‘kidnapping,’ Newsom has some explaining to do.’
In a statement to DailyMail.com, Newsom’s spokesperson Erin Mellon slammed the accusation, writing: ‘There is no comparison between the two. SF helped people get home to their families. GOP Republicans kidnapped people for a political stunt.’
‘The Republican stunt lied to people about what they would receive and where they were going, and provided no support, instead dumping them on the street as political pawns,’ added Mellon.
According to multiple reports, many of the migrants on the flights to Martha’s Vineyard were told that they were going to Boston, and promised free housing and jobs.
Mellon continued: ‘Homeward Bound was completely voluntary and participants signed up to get home to family. While they waited, they were provided shelter, they were given financial support for food along the trip and there was follow through to make sure people got home.’
‘Republican Governors are using vulnerable migrants, including families with children as political props. Their behavior is monstrous,’ she added.
Homeless tents are seen near the City Hall of San Francisco on August 29, 2022
‘This is a stunt by these governors to curry favor with their campaign donors. It’s not only morally reprehensible, but it may be unlawful as well.’
Newsom in 2019 claimed that most of San Francisco’s homeless population was from Texas, a claim that PolitiFact rated as untrue.
On Saturday, Newsom also reached out on Twitter to challenge DeSantis to a debate ahead of the midterm elections.
‘Hey @GovRonDeSantis, clearly you’re struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives,’ Newsom tweeted on Friday.
‘Since you have only one overriding need – attention – let’s take this up & debate,’ Newsom said in response to a tweet from Dan Rather asking CNN to set up a debate between the two governors.
‘I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray,’ he added, referring to DeSantis’ quip earlier that day.
Migrants who were relocated from Martha’s Vineyard to the Joint Base Cape Cod received a warm meal. Pictured: A mom carrying her kids to be bussed off to the base
Pictured: A group of 50 migrants enjoyed Venezuelan dishes at the military base after Martha’s Vineyard declared an emergency over the group’s arrival
Newsom’s challenge comes as DeSantis continued to defend flying the migrants over to Martha’s Vineyard and said his state has a $12 million budget ready to relocate more immigrants up north, CNN reported.
‘These are just the beginning efforts,’ DeSantis said in a news conference on Friday. ‘We’ve got an infrastructure in place now. There’s going to be a lot more that’s happening.’
The Florida governor said he may even collaborate with Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who since April has been busing migrants to so-called sanctuary cities including New York and Washington DC.
DeSantis accused critics of his move as ‘virtue signaling,’ and said their concern for the welfare of the migrants was a ‘fraud.’
He said: ‘The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they go berserk, and they’re so upset that this is happening.’
The Republican also disputed claims that the migrants didn’t know where they were being sent, saying his office made them sign a waiver and provided maps of Martha’s Vineyard.
‘It’s obvious that’s where they were going,’ he said. ‘It’s all voluntary.’
Charlamagne Tha God APPLAUDS DeSantis and Abbott as ‘geniuses’ for sending migrants to sanctuary city blue states and says it will expose Democrats’ hypocrisy for NOT wanting migrants either
Famed host of The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne Tha God, voiced his approval of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sending busloads of migrants to blue state sanctuary cities and called the move ‘genius.’
The longtime radio host held a panel on Comedy Central’s Hell of a Week, and told his fellow panelists that he believes the idea is a good way to expose the hypocrisy of Democrats who do not want migrants in their areas.
Abbott has sent approximately 2,500 migrants to New York City while DeSantis pulled off a stunning stunt when he flew 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in an unannounced attempt to relocate the asylum seekers.
‘I personally think it’s genius,’ Charlamagne said, ‘but I wish that governors like Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott would give Democratic governors and mayors more of a heads-up.’
‘Because then, that would expose the hypocrisy of the Democrats, which is, they don’t want immigrants here either,’ he said.
Host of The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne Tha God voiced his approval of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sending immigrants to Democrat-led cities
Charlamagne called Democrats hypocritical because ‘they don’t want immigrants here either’
Angela Rye, center left, pushed back on Charlamagne’s approval and said she wants to know ‘what kind of Christianity’ the GOP governors are practicing
The first to push back on Charlamagne’s opinions was Angela Rye, a special correspondent for ESPN who covers matters of race and social justice for the sports network titan.
Rye began her speech with an eyeroll, and said she wants to ‘dig deeper into the fact that these folks who are priding themselves’ on sending immigrants to places that are ‘not expecting them.’
Charlamagne pointed out they’re being sent to sanctuary cities, to which Rye responded ‘it doesn’t matter. When you haven’t talked to these folks about what your plans are… It is a political game for them.’
Rye went on to call Abbott and DeSantis ‘bible-beating Christian governors,’ and went on to wonder ‘what kind of Christianity they’re practicing.’
Author and intellectual Malcolm Gladwell then joined in the discussion and agreed with Rye, and asked ‘How are we in a situation in our country when we’re treating people who want to come here… as props in some kind of political stunt.’
Comedian Roy Wood Jr. was the last to chime in, and raised a poignant point when he said the Democratic cities are the ‘same cities that ship out their homeless people to the outside counties,’ which Rye agreed with.
Wood Jr. went on to say the cities ‘deliberately hide people already,’ which makes their complaints about Abbott and DeSantis’ moves ring hypocritical.
Rye then pleaded that we have some ‘humanity and compassion about this conversation,’ and said ‘the country has failed immigration for a very long time.’
She also said Abbott and DeSantis are ‘terrified’ when there is a ‘browning of their states,’ and Charlamagne agreed with the analysis.
According to the Democrat Mayor Eric Adams, New York’s facilities for housing migrants have been pushed to the brink in recent months – with the city having already opened 23 emergency shelters.
Adams said that 38 more shelters are set to be created to deal with the mounting issue.
Migrants are loaded onto MTA buses in Manhattan after arriving by bus from Texas to Port Authority Bus Terminal this morning
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (pictured) has been slammed for his scheme to ship migrants across the country
The Commissioner of Immigration Affairs for the city says that a lot of the migrants being bussed from Texas by Gov Greg Abbott are coming from Venezuela.
Manuel Castro claims that the majority of illegal immigrants that have arrived to New York want to go to Florida because of their large community of Venezuelans.
‘We’re helping them get to their actual final destination. We’re doing our best. All states and all cities have a role to play here, not just New York and Chicago and other places.’
New York City law requires the city to provide housing for anyone who requests it, with Castro adding that around 7,300 asylum seekers currently remain in the system.
The system has become so overwhelmed that city hall has had to contract hotel rooms to house the thousands coming into the city.
Migrants arrive from Texas via coach to Port Authority Bus Station, Manhattan, New York
GOP officials say they’re keen to give liberal sanctuary cities an insight into the strain uncontrolled illegal immigration is bringing to border communities.
Abbott has been sending buses to New York, Chicago, and DC, including to the vice president’s doorstep, and this week DeSantis dispatched a plane with 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, the wealthy Massachusetts island.
The White House has decried the Republican governors’ efforts, saying the migrants, mostly from Venezuela, were being used in a political stunt.
‘These were children. They were moms. They were fleeing communism. And what did Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott do to them? They used them as political pawns, treated them like chattel,’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing on Friday.
She said: ‘This is an issue that is inhumane it is abhorrent and we should not be using people, migrants, who are fleeing communism as a political pawn.’