Taxpayers footed the bill for DeSantis to fly migrants to Marthas Vineyard: report

Taxpayers footed the bill for DeSantis to fly migrants to Marthas Vineyard: report
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaking at the Nebraska Steak Fry in Nebraska City, Nebraska (Wikimedia Commons)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) used $615,000 of Florida taxpayers' money to fly migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, according to a new report.

Per The Tallahassee Democrat, the exact amount came to light in a tweet shared by Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist, who is running against DeSantis in November.

The news outlet reports that the payment was sent from the Florida Department of Transportation, \ which now manages a state program allocating approximately $12 million to the relocation of "unauthorized aliens."

READ MORE: 'They’re just coming in onesie-twosies': Ron DeSantis says Florida has too few migrants to relocate

“Ron won’t answer questions, so we looked ourselves,” Crist tweeted, adding, “So Floridians paid $12,300 for each refugee DeSantis trafficked for his own political purposes.”

The governor's office insists it followed protocol according to the state's programs.

"Florida’s immigration relocation program aims to interdict human smugglers, traffickers, or other criminal aliens found within the state, as well as prevent illegal aliens at the southern border from entering Florida," spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said in a statement.

However, the news outlet notes: "State budget language authorizing the $12 million program allows for the transport and 'relocation of unauthorized aliens,' but only mentions those in Florida."

READ MORE: Texas sheriff inundated with 'threats' after announcing Ron DeSantis criminal investigation

Despite mounting criticism, the Florida governor has defended his decision. When he appeared in Niceville on Thursday, September 22, he spoke on the issue. “We take what’s happening at the southern border very seriously, unlike some, and unlike the President of the United States who has refused to lift a finger to secure that border,” DeSantis said.

Speaking in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Friday, DeSantis also confirmed that more flights are already planned to transport Venezuelans and other immigrants to other “sanctuary” communities across the country.

“There's also going to be buses, and there will likely be more flights,” said DeSantis. “I'll tell you this, the Legislature gave me $12 million. We're going to spend every penny of that to make sure that we're protecting the people of the state of Florida.”

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis transporting asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard was 'clearly not a state action'

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