Florida Governor Ron DeSantis faces more legal challenges after he took part in a brutal political stunt last week that lured migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses.
Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo (D) on Thursday sued the Republican governor and other state officials, alleging their actions as part of the plan violated state law. He wants to ban DeSantis from continuing to transfer migrants.
Pizzo said DeSantis used state money to pay for the transportation costs of two planes carrying about 50 migrants to Massachusetts.
While there is a provision in the state budget that allocates $12 million to “a program to facilitate the transportation of unauthorized aliens from this state in accordance with federal law,” the migrants in this case were not in Florida to begin with. .
The only time the migrants were in the Sunshine State was when the two planes landed at a Florida airport before taking off again for Massachusetts.
In addition, the migrants are legally allowed to stay in the country while their asylum application or other assistance is being processed.
“Senator Pizzo never misses an opportunity for his 15 minutes of fame and is challenging an action for an appropriation he voted for,” Taryn Fenske, a DeSantis spokesperson, told CNN on Thursday.
Aside from DeSantis, the three other defendants named in the lawsuit are Jimmy Patronis, Florida’s chief financial officer; the Ministry of Transport; and Jared W. Purdue, the department chief.
Three Venezuelan migrants who flew to the island filed a lawsuit Tuesday against DeSantis and others involved in implementing the scheme.
“These immigrants, who are pursuing proper channels for legal immigration status in the United States, have experienced atrocities comparable to what they fled in their home countries,” the lawsuit said.
The three migrants described how they were tricked by hired scouts who offered free housing and the promise of legal work papers when they boarded a plane that would take them to Washington, DC and Boston. Instead, the planes transported them to the remote island of Martha’s Vineyard without prior notice to local officials, and where no arrangements had been made to house them.
But the locals rose to the challenge.
“Our island sprang into action by putting together 50 beds, giving everyone a good meal, providing a play area for the children and making sure people get the health care and support they need,” Massachusetts state representative wrote. , Dylan Fernandes (D) on Twitter. “We are a community coming together to support immigrants.”
Fernandes also has appealed to the Ministry of Justice to launch an investigation into DeSantis’ actions.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas is investigating the operation.
DeSantis has been put forward as a likely 2024 presidential candidate for the Republican Party.