(CNN) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday that $12 million in his state budget will use “every penny” to relocate immigrants, and made clear the possibility of buses and “probably” planes.
“These are initial efforts,” the Republican governor said. “We have the infrastructure in place now. A lot more is going to happen.”
At a news conference in Daytona Beach, DeSantis said he used taxpayer money to send 50 immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard because many who cross the border end up in Florida. In this regard, he explained that people who work in Florida are in Texas and are probably “profile” people going to Florida.
Florida has gotten its own contractor to coordinate the state’s relocation efforts to Texas, though DeSantis hasn’t closed the door on working with Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott to arrange future moves.
“We can collaborate,” DeSantis said.
If I could, “I would send them back to Mexico or their country of birth,” DeSantis said. Most — if not all — of the migrants on the two flights said they were from Venezuela.
DeSantis also denied the claim that the settlers did not know where they were going in Massachusetts because, according to him, they signed a waiver and were given a package that included a map of Martha’s Vineyard.
“Obviously they go there,” he said, adding: “It’s all voluntary.”
DeSantis explains Florida’s plan to identify and transport immigrants
The state budget DeSantis signed this year earmarked $12 million for transporting “unauthorized aliens,” but noted that the purpose was to transport people “from this state.” Asked about that rule, DeSantis dismissed it as a semantic issue because many immigrants end up in Florida, but don’t move there in large enough groups to intercept them.
“So we’re intercepting people on a one-two basis,” DeSantis said. “And we said, well, we’ve had people in Texas try for months to figure out how these people are getting to Florida. What’s the movement? Actually 40% of them say they want to go to Florida. And I mean, we’re talking about everybody, but the problem is, they’re three people in one car. Like they’re getting on, they’re passing, and it’s hard for us to know because they’re entering the state like any other car. There’s no big action.”
“So they’ve been in Texas, identifying people trying to get to Florida and giving them free transportation to sanctuary jurisdictions. So they’ve flown from Texas to Florida to Martha’s Vineyard.”
In response to Jupiter’s criticism of President Joe BidenDeSantis said, “We continue to use every tool at our disposal to protect the state of Florida from the negative consequences of its reckless border policies.”
“He’s in no rush to get his cabinet together when millions of people are crossing the southern border illegally,” DeSantis said.
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