Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has been hit with another lawsuit related to his administration’s recent transports of vulnerable migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard (a Massachusetts locale) without providing advance notice to local officials.
The lack of prior notice meant government leaders in the community were unprepared to receive dozens of migrants, including individuals who had been homeless, although local residents quickly mobilized to assist those who had arrived. The point of the flights — although characterizing them as having such a thing might be too generous — was evidently to bring attention to immigration-related issues and keep these vulnerable individuals (who were in Texas) out of Florida. DeSantis signed a measure establishing “Victims of Communism Day” earlier this year, and migrants targeted by his team and eventually flown to Massachusetts included individuals fleeing Venezuela, where authoritarian politicians operating under claims of far-left principles are in power. Apparently, DeSantis’s commitment to supporting “victims of Communism” was more limited than he insinuated. It was just a show.
As for the new lawsuit, it is from an organization called the Florida Center for Government Accountability. The group is seeking records related to the flights, efforts around which have already cost the state the better part of millions of dollars according to available info. “A lawsuit was filed by @FLCTRGA this morning to compel the Governor’s Office to release public records about the flights to Martha’s Vineyard,” they said. Catherine Parnell, who is on staff at the organization, also commented. “We would all like to know how the maneuver that used human beings as pawns came about, wouldn’t we? Follow the money,” she added. The Washington Post recently reported on newly available records related to the trip, which was voluntary in nature but which migrants were pushed to join under false pretenses, including claims of employment assistance. In available documents, there weren’t any references to that migrants would be transported from Texas or somewhere else outside of the state.
There were, however, references to moving whoever eventually joined the trip from Florida — which isn’t what happened, although there was a brief stop in the state. Rebekah Davis, a top lawyer at the Florida Department of Transportation, sought quotes for a company to “implement and manage a program to relocate out of the State of Florida foreign nationals who are not lawfully present in the United States.” (Available details also indicate people on the flights to Martha’s Vineyard, who were in the process of seeking asylum, were actually lawfully present in this country.) Texas obviously isn’t “the State of Florida”! The legal foundation for using money approved by the legislature for transporting migrants from the state of Florida for something that, well, isn’t that is also the subject of litigation from state Sen. Jason Pizzo (D) connected to the flights. Further info in available documentation indicates Florida authorities have already paid Vertol Systems, an Oregon-based firm, $615,000 for the Massachusetts trip and $950,000 tied in reports to another flight to Delaware (Biden’s home state) that was cancelled.
— Florida Center for Government Accountability (@FLCTRGA) October 10, 2022