Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, R, received a round of applause from a crowd at an event Thursday expanding a trucker workforce program. However, the round of applause was unrelated to the event, rather it came after a reporter asked DeSantis about his decision to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
Two planes carrying around 50 migrants were dropped off in the prestigious sanctuary destination on Wednesday. This was just one of many migrant transport operations largely carried out by Florida and Texas but the first to arrive in Massachusetts. In response to the migrants arrival, the Chamber of Commerce in Martha’s Vineyard declared a humanitarian crisis soon after the migrants’ arrival.
“Finding housing for 48 people in a matter of a couple of hours was a huge challenge,” Elizabeth Folcarelli Martha’s Vineyard Community Services CEO, said. “We called upon our partners: the school, the hospital, law enforcement, the sheriff, basically made phone calls to everybody we knew that we thought who could help. Our legislators. And together we put together this plan to get housing here. So it’s a good temporary solution.”
All migrants were given a bed, food, and shelter. Martha’s Vineyard presented itself as a sanctuary destination that welcomes migrants during former President Donald Trump’s administration. This week, Washington, D.C., another sanctuary city, declared a public health emergency over their portion of migrants sent to their city by bus.
The White House has called it a “political stunt” and has vocalized opposition to the Republican governor’s operation, a shared sentiment among Democrats. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, D, called for a federal investigation into possible kidnapping charges on Thursday following the news of migrants landing in Martha’s Vineyard.
DeSantis has doubled down, defending Florida’s position. The migrants in Martha’s Vineyard were staying in shelters in San Antonio, Texas. But Florida footed their travel bill as $12 million was recently secured in state funds to send migrants to sanctuary cities. DeSantis explained at the truckers event on Thursday migrants from Texas often travel to Florida, calling the Sunshine State an appeasing place for migrants to want to live. DeSantis said instead of having the migrants travel into his state, Florida would assist sending them to sanctuary cities.
“The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with everyday is brought to their front door, they all of a sudden go berserk, and they’re so upset this is happening and it just shows their virtue signaling is a fraud,” DeSantis said.
To put the 50 migrants in Martha’s Vineyard in perspective, the Del Rio sector of the border in Texas averages 1,500-2,000 illegal crossings every day. The Del Rio Sector saw 3,300 illegal crossings and more than 733 “gotaways” last weekend alone, according to Customs and Border Protection.