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Ron DeSantis has broken his silence on funding migrant flights from Texas to Sacramento, arguing states such as California and New York should bear the brunt of ‘open borders’.
On Tuesday his team admitted to helping transport migrants to Sacramento from Texas, releasing footage of them being cheerfully transported on a private jet.
Speaking during a trip to the southern border on Wednesday, the presidential hopeful said he would continue to support states that would not provide sanctuary to migrants.
DeSantis said: ‘If there’s a policy to have an open border, then I think the sanctuary jurisdictions should be the ones that have to bear that.
‘We are not a sanctuary in Florida, we know people want to come and so the more we can divert before we even have to get there is good for our state.
Governor DeSantis, pictured here last week, said that he would continue to support states that would not provide sanctuary to migrants.
Migrants of various nationalities rest in a temporary camp, in Tapachula, Chiapas, Mexico, 22 May 2023
He continued: ‘California, they have a big budget deficit and we have a big budget surplus and so we have an ability to do things like support police and help out Texas.
‘If a sheriff asks for our support in Texas we view this as an American problem we don’t view it just as a Texas problem, we will send resources to Texas to do that if they want transport. We want to be helpful for that.’
The Florida Division of Emergency Management released footage of the migrants being transported on a private jet, listening to music, signing waivers and appearing to enjoy themselves.
‘We made it to California,’ said an alleged migrant in a selfie video which revealed behind him the turbo prop de Havilland plane he and the others arrived on.
‘Thank God, very thankful to God,’ he said in Spanish while standing on the tarmac at Sacramento Executive Airport.
In an accompanying statement, Alecia Collins, the communications director for the department, said the relocation was consensual. ‘As you can see from this video, Florida’s voluntary relocation is precisely that – voluntary,’ she wrote.
It is not clear exactly who took the videos and pictures but some appear to have been captured by the alleged migrants themselves.
None of the people shown in the video were identified and the video was without any description.
Other parts show the alleged migrants cheering in the back of a bus, singing along to music and showing peace signs with their hands.
In a segment of the video, a man records himself disembarking from a plane and thanking God as he stands on the tarmac in what appears to be Sacramento Executive Airport
In a statement accompanying footage a spokesperson for the Florida Division of Emergency Management said the relocation was voluntary
Californian officials said on Tuesday the transport of the migrants had been facilitated by Vertol Systems Company
At one point as they appear to congregate in a briefing room they are asked in Spanish: ‘At any point did you feel like you were treated poorly?’
‘No, they treated us very well,’ one person said in response.
The transport of some three dozen migrants to California by Florida’s governor is the latest move in which asylum seekers that entered via the southern border have been relocated north to Democratic-led ‘sanctuary cities’.
California, which is a sanctuary state, is investigating ‘state-sanctioned kidnapping’ after the 16 migrants were dropped on the doorstep of a Sacramento church without ‘advance warning’.
Californian officials said on Tuesday the transport of the migrants had been facilitated by Vertol Systems Company, a private company that also arranged the planeloads of Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard last year.
More than a dozen Venezuelan and Colombian migrants who entered the US via Texas were transported by private plane to Sacramento, California, and left outside the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, pictured
California Gov. Newsom tweeted Monday at Ron DeSantis saying ‘you small, pathetic man’
The migrants, mostly from Venezuela but also from Colombia, arrived to Sacramento, California’s capital, on two flights – the first carrying 16 on Friday and another on Monday carried 20.
California Governor Gavin Newsom attacked DeSantis on Monday, calling him a ‘small, pathetic man’ and threatening on Twitter to bring kidnapping charges against his administration.
He said he was working with the California Department of Justice to establish if there was anything criminal about the orchestration of the flights.
In the statement on Tuesday Florida’s Division of Emergency Management suggested that the criticism by Californian officials was unfair.
‘From left-leaning mayors in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, the relocation of those illegally crossing the United States border is not new,’ read the statement.
‘But suddenly, when Florida sends illegal aliens to a sanctuary city, it’s false imprisonment and kidnapping.’