DeSantis on flying migrants away: Biden ‘refused to lift a finger to secure the border’

(As originally published with bells and whistles, Thu, September 15th 2022, 10:54 AM EDT)

NICEVILLE, Fla. (WPEC) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blamed President Biden for illegal immigration into the U.S., the day after he sent two planeloads of people to Martha’s Vineyard.

DeSantis held a Thursday morning news conference about workforce education, specifically training truck drivers, but at the end was asked about the flights that made national news.

The governor once again took on the president, saying he “has refused to lift a finger to secure that border.”

“He reversed the Trump policies, knowing what would end up happening,” DeSantis accused the president.

The governor repeated his comment that migrants want to come to Florida and credited his Texas counterpart Greg Abbott for busing migrants away to the north.

Then, he took on people in cities with Democratic mayors.

“All those people in D.C. and New York were beating their chests when Trump was president,” he said about them being sanctuary cities. He also called them frauds after migrants were sent there.

“It’s expensive if people are coming here,” he said about people flocking to Florida.

Then, he played politics by suggesting, “Every community in America should be sharing in the burden. It shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states.”

The flights to the upscale island enclave in Massachusetts escalated a tactic by Republican governors to draw attention to the border situation.

The Florida legislature appropriated $12 million to transport “illegal immigrants” away consistent with federal law, the governor’s communications director, Taryn Fenske, said.

DeSantis did not mention the cost of the two flights, nor elaborate on the passengers’ legal status.

The idea to send away migrants was dreamed up by former President Donald Trump.

DeSantis — who is running for reelection in November and is mentioned as potential presidential candidate — upped the ante by using planes and choosing a destination far less prepared than big cities for large influxes of migrants.

Still, the people were welcomed upon their arrival in the Vineyard. DeSantis did not mention that.

Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha’s Vineyard, tweeted: “Our island jumped into action putting together 50 beds, giving everyone a good meal, providing a play area for the children, making sure people have the healthcare and support they need. We are a community that comes together to support immigrants.”

The governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker, is a Republican like DeSantis.

Gov. DeSantis often speaks about national issues and brought up the southern border several times, including from the Panhandle in June.

Critics say he is weaponizing migrants as pawns for political gain.

A woman, who is part of a group of immigrants that had just arrived, holds a child as they are fed outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday flew two planes of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, escalating a tactic by Republican governors to draw attention to what they consider to be the Biden administration’s failed border policies. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP)

DeSantis’ opponent in the governor’s race, Charlie Crist, called using taxpayer dollars to fly Venezuelan and Colombian migrants to Massachusetts his latest political stunt.

Also, a group in Miami is upset since they say the group included 50 people including children seeking asylum from Venezuela.

DeSantis often criticizes socialist Venezuela. In March, he even held a roundtable to rally against the U.S. buying oil from Venezuela. He spearheaded a law requiring teaching students the evils of communism. Plus, he signed a bill declaring Nov. 7 to be “Victims of Communism Day” in Florida.

The governor announced more money for workforce education and apprenticeships at colleges around the state, rather than expensive four-year college degrees.

He spoke at Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Okaloosa County.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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