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Fallout Continues from Florida's Migrant Flight from Texas to Martha's Vineyard

While DeSantis' action faces legal challenges and is viewed by critics as a political stunt, Republicans have welcomed the highlighting of the issue.
Fallout Continues from Florida's Migrant Flight from Texas to Martha's Vineyard

Florida state Sen. Jason Pizzo (D) sued Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and other state officials Thursday over the state’s program to fly migrants to other states, the latest legal exposure DeSantis has faced after he took credit for flying approximately 50 Venezuelan migrants who were initially in Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, reports Forbes.

DeSantis Sued By Florida State Senator—Here’s All The Legal Fallout He Faces For Flying Migrants To Martha’s Vineyard (Forbes)

Excerpt from Forbes: Pizzo, acting as a private citizen, sued DeSantis along with Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronus, the state Department of Transportation and its secretary Jared Perdue in state court, taking issue with the state’s program that uses taxpayer money to “facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law” through private companies. The lawsuit argues the state flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard violated that measure because they were not in the country unlawfully and their flight originated in Texas and not Florida—meaning they were not "from this state"—and asks the court to declare the statute unconstitutional altogether, or at least bar the state from transporting any more migrants who aren’t from Florida.
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In a related story from the Hill, the group of Venezuelan migrants flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week filed a class-action suit against the governor and the state’s transportation secretary on Tuesday. The suit, filed in a federal trial court in Massachusetts, asks a judge to declare DeSantis’s relocations illegal under the Constitution as well as federal and state laws.

Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard file class-action suit against DeSantis (Hill)

Excerpt from the Hill: The suit provides a detailed account of how the migrants came to board the two planes allegedly under false pretenses, arguing the relocations violated their Fourth and 14th Amendment rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "These immigrants, who are pursuing the proper channels for lawful immigration status in the United States, experienced cruelty akin to what they fled in their home country," the suit alleges. "Defendants manipulated them, stripped them of their dignity, deprived them of their liberty, bodily autonomy, due process and equal protection under law, and impermissibly interfered with the Federal Government’s exclusive control over immigration in furtherance of an unlawful goal and a personal political agenda." The suit asks the judge to prevent Florida from inducing immigrants to travel across state laws by fraud and misrepresentation.
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According to Insider, when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis orchestrated flights sending migrants and asylum seekers from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, many observers saw a stunt aimed at raising the Republican's political profile ahead of a potential 2024 White House run.

Ron DeSantis' Martha's Vineyard stunt gives Republicans the midterm fight they crave and takes focus off Trump 2024 and abortion rights, GOP operatives say (Insider)

Excerpt from Insider: According to GOP operatives, the move gave Republicans running for Congress the opportunity to focus on illegal immigration and border security, topics they've clamored to put at the center of this fall's midterm elections. DeSantis' timing is ideal for Republicans and allows the governor to continue casting himself as a national GOP leader that others in the party will follow. Democrats have been feeling more optimistic about their forthcoming chances in the November midterms thanks to legislative wins in Congress, decreasing gas prices, and the threat of a GOP push for a nationwide abortion ban. They've also been able to keep the spotlight on former President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly teased a 2024 White House run, is the subject of an FBI investigation over classified documents, and faces a $250 million fraud lawsuit. DeSantis threw a wrench into the political conversation by taking a page out of Trump's 2016 campaign playbook. The flights carrying migrants injected immigration into the national discussion, forcing the White House to respond.
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