Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' (R) highly publicized initiative to transport migrants to northern states may have gone beyond the scope of what Florida originally intended, per new records obtained by The Washington Post.
DeSantis notably had two planes full of migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts after reiterating that Florida was not a sanctuary state. The move was heavily criticized — including by some in DeSantis' own state — as a cruel political stunt. The new records from the Post, however, show that DeSantis may have also used a new Florida program to his advantage.
Launched in July, this initiative, known as a "relocation program," was described by the Post as being intended to "relocate out of the state of Florida foreign nationals who are not lawfully present in the United States."
However, the pair of migrant flights originated from San Antonio, Texas, and the Post reportedly obtained records showing the DeSantis administration paid charter airline company Vertol $615,000 to fly from Texas to Martha's Vineyard. A payment of $950,000 for an additional flight was also reportedly listed, though this flight was later canceled.
These new records are at the heart of a criminal investigation into DeSantis' actions, as well as a civil lawsuit being brought by Florida State Sen. Jason Pizzo (D). Pizzo alleges the relocation program violated state law because the flights originated in Texas, not Florida.
DeSantis, though, has defended the flights, and claimed during a press conference that "most of [the migrants] are intending to come to Florida."