Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ move to send a group of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard is being used as a rally cry by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who has long pushed for stringent policies against immigrants without legal status.
Abbott — a Republican — wasn’t involved with the initial planes to Martha’s Vineyard, which included about 50 migrants, but he’s lauding the move.
“Governor Abbott encourages and welcomes all his fellow governors to engage in this effort to secure the border and focus on the failing and illegal efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to continue these reckless open border policies,” said press secretary Renae Eze in an email to GBH News.
She said Abbott’s office has been in conversations with DeSantis and his team about “supporting our busing strategy to provide much-needed relief to our overwhelmed and overrun border communities.”
“We appreciate the support in responding to this national crisis and helping Texans,” the statement read.
Ron DeSantis — also a Republican — caused an uproar in Massachusetts over a flight of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, with no heads-up to local officials.
He also didn’t notify fellow Republican Gov. Charlie Baker.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is in touch with local officials regarding the arrival of migrants in Martha’s Vineyard,” wrote press secretary Terry MacCormack in an email to GBH News. “At this time, short-term shelter services are being provided by local officials, and the Administration will continue to support those efforts.”
MacCormack referred GBH News to a public statement Baker made Thursday afternoon when asked about Abbott's comment.
“On behalf of the Commonwealth, I thank everyone on the ground who quickly came together to provide assistance on the Vineyard. The Commonwealth has many resources for assisting individuals that arrive in Massachusetts with varying immigration statuses and needs and is working with all partners involved to make sure those resources are available to the migrants that arrived last night."
Baker also said his administration is exploring setting up temporary shelter and humanitarian services at Joint Base Cape Cod.
In a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis defended his actions, saying Florida is not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to send migrants to sanctuary jurisdictions. “And yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures” he said to cheers.
This year, Abbott himself has shuttled more than 8,500 migrants from the Texas border to Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago. Some migrants from those trips are showing up in Boston hospitals, seeking help with medical care and housing.
Wednesday’s unprecedented flight has swirled accusations of human trafficking against the Florida governor. His deputy communications director Jeremy Redfern addressed those in a Thursday morning tweet.
“Do the cartels that smuggle humans call Florida or Texas before illegal immigrants wash up on our shores or cross over the border? No.” He continued: “Welcome to being a state on the Southern border, Massachusetts.”
DeSantis’ office didn’t reply to requests for comment about whether more flights will be arriving to Martha’s Vineyard or other parts of Massachusetts.
NPR reported that some of the migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard were lured by an unidentified woman named "Perla" onto the plane, telling them they were being sent to Boston for expedited work papers.
Back in June, DeSantis announced that Florida was working to stop human smuggling, human trafficking, and seize illegal weapons being transported through the state, as a result of what he called “the Biden Border Crisis.”