Florida confirms state is sending migrant planes to California

  • Two migrants flights arrived in Sacramento over the weekend
  • Newsom accused DeSantis of sending migrants, threatening kidnapping charges
  • Witness: "I think they were happy to be away from wherever they came from"

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (NewsNation) — Over 30 migrants have arrived in Sacramento since Friday after a second flight carrying 20 migrants landed in California’s capital on Monday.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom took to social media, accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis of being responsible for the flights in a tweet.

“You small, pathetic man,” Newsom wrote in his tweet. “This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard.”

In the same tweet, Newsom attached a screenshot of a section of the state’s kidnapping legislation, alluding to possible kidnapping charges for DeSantis.

NewsNation reached out to DeSantis’ office regarding the situation.

In a statement, Alecia Collins, communications director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, confirmed the planes taking migrants to California were sent from their state.

Migrants volunteered to go to California “through verbal and written consent,” Collins claimed.

“From left-leaning mayors in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, the relocation of those illegally crossing the United States border is not new,” Collins wrote. “But suddenly, when Florida sends illegal aliens to a sanctuary city, it’s false imprisonment and kidnapping.”

Law enforcement sources in California told NewsNation that they don’t believe any type of kidnapping charges could be brought against DeSantis because the migrants consented to the flights.

The second migrant flight arrived at Sacramento Executive Airport on Monday, and the migrants were provided food and water from officials before being taken to a religious institution where they would be given additional resources, including housing, according to Sacramento County’s Director of Public Information Kim Nava.

However, it’s still unclear how long the migrants will stay in the state’s capital and where exactly they will be housed. County officials said they are still working the details out.

Steve Thompson, who runs a flight school at the airport, witnessed the moment the migrants arrived in The Golden State.

“I saw some people smiling, I think they were happy to be away from wherever they came from,” Thompson said.

Newsom and California Attorney General Rob Bonta met with the first group of migrants who arrived on Saturday, learning that the migrants entered the country through El Paso, Texas.

“We here in the California Department of Justice will do everything in our power to complete a full, thorough, comprehensive investigation, gather all the relevant facts and determine whether any criminal or civil violations have occurred and take appropriate steps once we’ve completed that investigation,” Bonta said.

The Republican governors of Texas and Arizona have previously sent thousands of migrants on buses to New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C., but the rare charter flights by DeSantis mark an escalation in tactics.

The two groups sent to Sacramento never went through Florida. Instead, they were approached in El Paso by people with Florida-linked paperwork, sent to New Mexico then put on private flights to California’s capital, California officials and advocates said.

Eddie Carmona, a campaign director from PICO California — a faith-based organizing group that assists migrants — discovered that the migrants were approached in El Paso by individuals representing a private contractor who offered to help them get jobs and get them to their final destination.

However, according to Carmona, the migrants were lied to and they had no idea they would be taken to California.

NewsNation is working to independently confirm exactly what the migrants were told and promised in El Paso.

Bonta said California is investigating the state of Florida for the migrant flights.

“My message is check yourself Gov. Desantis. You’re morally bankrupted,” Bonta said.

DeSantis’ office and the alleged private contractor Vertol Systems Co have not responded for comment regarding the migrant flights.

While they are unaware if more migrant flights are headed to Sacramento, county officials said they are prepared to receive more migrants if necessary.

So far, no children were involved in the two flights and all migrants have already been processed by immigration officials and were given court dates for later in the future.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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