Taxpayers footed the bill for DeSantis to fly migrants to Marthas Vineyard: report
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."
“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."
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.”