DeSantis calls migrant flights north ‘all voluntary’

Border Report

(NewsNation) — Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis responded Friday to criticism of flying migrants in his state to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, saying the flights were “all voluntary.”

About 50 migrants flown to the wealthy Massachusetts island were loaded onto buses and voluntarily moved to a military base near Cape Cod on Friday after spending two nights at a local church.

The governors of Texas and Arizona have sent thousands of migrants on buses to New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., in recent months.

The migrants are asylum seekers who are now permitted to stay in the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection until their petitions to stay in the country go through the system.

The migrants have escalated a gubernatorial feud and triggered a humanitarian crisis across the country.

DeSantis said the flights to Martha’s Vineyard were part of an effort to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations” and chided Massachusetts for being a “sanctuary state,” unlike Florida.

The mostly Venezuelan migrants who were flown from San Antonio on Wednesday by DeSantis said they were told they were going to Boston.

“Most of them were very upbeat, hopeful, hopeful,” said Domingo Garcia, national president of the League of United Latin American Citizens.

Many of them already have appointments with Immigration and Customs as lawyers have flown in to help the group with paperwork and their immigration cases.

In Washington, D.C., about 100 migrants were eventually moved to a nearby church after first being dropped off at Vice President Kamala Harris’ home.

And in Illinois, the governor issued an emergency disaster proclamation.

Officials in Chicago say the buses of migrants from Texas often come with little to no warning.

“Sometimes we have three hours. Sometimes we have 12 hours,” said Grace Hou, secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services.

Since April and May, both Texas and Arizona have sent 10,000 migrants to D.C., about 2,200 to New York, between 300 to 500 to Chicago, and as of Thursday, close to 50 were sent by Florida to Massachusetts.

Those numbers are only a small percentage of the population in those major U.S. cities. For comparison, New York has roughly 8.4 million people.

Still, the busing and flying of migrants don’t seem to be slowing down, as towns along the southern border continue to say they are overwhelmed.

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