DeSantis Office Responds to Sheriff Investigation into Migrant Transports: ‘Florida Gave Them an Opportunity to Seek Greener Pastures’

By Lydia Nusbaum, Florida's Voice

September 19, 2022 Updated 9:11 PM ET

Bexar County, Texas Sheriff Javier Salazar (left), Gov. Ron DeSantis (right, Gage Skidmore).
Bexar County, Texas Sheriff Javier Salazar (left), Gov. Ron DeSantis (right, Gage Skidmore).

BEXAR COUNTY (FLV) – The Democrat sheriff of Bexar County in Texas, Javier Salazar, announced the Sheriff’s Office opened an investigation after the DeSantis Administration flew illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Migrants who said they intended to settle in Florida were offered flights from Texas to Florida, and then ultimately Martha’s Vineyard.

“The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation into the migrants that were lured from the Migrant Resource Center, located in Bexar County, TX, and flown to Florida, where they were ultimately left to fend for themselves in Martha’s Vineyard, MA,” the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has pushed back against the narrative that the migrants were “lured” onto the planes. He said they were given a map and a release form to sign before voluntarily traveling.

“Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and ‘left to fend for themselves.’ Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected,” said Taryn Fenske, the communications director for Gov. Ron DeSantis, in response to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announcement.

Florida’s Voice previously reported on the published brochures given to the migrants before boarding the flights. The brochure told migrants where they would be going and listed a variety of benefits and services Massachusetts provided to some refugees. The information was taken directly from the Massachusetts’ government website.

“Unless the MA national guard has abandoned these individuals, they have been provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing and more options to succeed following their unfair enticement into the United States, unlike the 53 immigrants who died in a truck found abandoned in Bexar County this June,” Fenske said.

After leaving Martha’s Vineyard, the group of migrants were reportedly housed at Joint Base Cape Cod where Massachusetts officials “have been working to house, feed and support the group.”

The Florida legislature approved $12 million to help transport illegal immigrants from the state. DeSantis said he plans to “spend every penny” of the allotted money to send illegal immigrants to “sanctuary jurisdictions.”

DeSantis: Two Migrant Flights to Martha’s Vineyard ‘Just the Beginning’

Sanctuary cities are usually those with laws to protect undocumented immigrants from prosecution or deportation, despite federal immigration law. Florida is not a sanctuary state.

“And that way they’re able to go and these sanctuary cities can put their money where their mouth is,” DeSantis explained Friday. “They can provide resources. They can do all of that.”

On Monday, Florida House Democrat leaders held a press conference claiming DeSantis’ usage of the $12 million dollars is deceptive.

In the letter, Florida House Democrats claim, “the assertion that these people might have wanted to come to Florida is not a sufficient reason to intercept, deceive, and transport asylum seekers two thousand miles.”

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