DeSantis news – live: Martha’s Vineyard immigrant flight funding revealed as Florida governor’s polls surge

Related video: More Migrants Arrive In D.C. As White House Slams Republican Governors

A group of 48 mostly Venezeulan migrants transported from Texas in a surprise flight to Martha’s Vineyard last week have sued governor Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and his administartion for allegedly orchestrating a “fraudulent and discriminatory” scheme.

The class- action lawsuit comes as at least two law enforcement agencies are also investigating the governor’s plans for allegedly “luring” migrants with false promises of employment and financial assistance.

Florida has paid an aviation firm more than $1.5m for to move migrants from Texas to the East Coast, but state campaign finance records show the state contracted with a longtime GOP donor.

Governor DeSantis and his aides have repeatedly defended sending migrants to Democratic-leading states and cities in protest of what they characterise as the president’s “open border” policy.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott also has sent hundreds of people from his state to Washington DC and New York City, leaving them largely stranded and at the mercy of aid groups hundreds of miles from where their asylum cases originated.

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Holly Baxter: ‘Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott seem to be using migrants to put across their extreme views’

Writing for The Independent Premium, US editor of Voices Holly Baxter writes how two Republican governors are ramping up political stunts ahead of the midterms at the expense of vulnerable migrants and their families:

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Migrant says he was paid to recruit migrants for Florida’s controversial Martha’s Vineyard flights

A 27-year-old Venezuelan migrant says he was given $200 to entice his fellow asylum-seekers to board planes or buses bound for Democrat-held areas chartered by Florida’s governor.

And he was instructed to do so with promises of aid that never materialised or was ever real to begin with, he now says.

If true, it would prove that Florida officials used deceptive practices to lure migrants thousands of miles across the United States for purely political reasons.

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DeSantis leads Trump in purple-red Florida amid migrants controversy

Florida Gov Ron DeSantis now leads Donald Trump in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup among voters in Florida, according to a new Axios poll.

The development comes as Mr DeSantis has become a hero on the far right for his effort to use state funding to transport migrants from Texas to Democrat-held areas, even as he admits that large groups of migrants entering his state remain nonexsistent.

The performance in the poll is notable, too, because Donald Trump won the Florida primary against Sen Marco Rubio, the state’s senior senator, during the 2016 primary in what was one of his last moves to eliminate his rivals in the GOP presidential contest.

Read more at Axios:

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Donald Trump rages that Ron DeSantis’s Martha’s Vineyard stunt was his ‘idea’

Donald Trump is privately raging at fellow Republican Ron DeSantis over the governor’s decision to authorise flights carrying roughly 50 migrants last week from the southern border to Martha’s Vineyard, Rolling Stone reported.

The magazine reported that two inside sources close to the twice-impeached president had heard him vent about the Republican governor taking the limelight off Trump and accused him of using the migrant flights to prop up his national profile ahead of a potential bid for the White House.

Read more in The Independent:

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More than $1m in Florida funding steered to GOP donor amid migrants controversy

A contractor owned by a Republican donor is seeing a massive windfall thanks to Ron DeSantis’s efforts to fly migrants from Texas to Massachusetts, and to other Democratic strongholds.

New analyses of state records indicate that more than $1m in funding for the flights was given to the company as it carries out Mr DeSantis’s efforts to embarrass the Biden White House.

Read more from Alex Woodward in The Independent:

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Abbott and DeSantis promise more migrant flights

The GOP governors of Florida and Texas have shown no signs of letting up in their campaign to embarass the Biden administration by organising flights of migrants to liberal-controlled cities. The plan has been roundly criticised for supposedly deceptive practices and the overall legality of the process.

“There’s also going to be buses, and there will likely be more flights,” Mr DeSantis said on Friday. “The Legislature gave me $12 million. We’re going to spend every penny of that to make sure that we’re protecting the people of the state of Florida.”

Mr Abbott, whose “Operation Lone Star” has bused more than 10,000 migrants into liberal cities across the country, has also promised more of the same.

“Texas will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, DC until President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border,” he said last week in a statement.

Read more from Josh Marcus:

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GOP’s hard-line tactics on migrants refocus midterm debate

Ron DeSantis and other Republicans are working overtime to refocus the midterms on the issue of immigration as their party faces the unfavourable prospect of voters casting their ballots amid unprecedented criminal investigations into Donald Trump as well as the GOP’s new campaign to restrict abortion rights nationwide.

“It will be a big issue in the elections, I can tell you that,” Mr DeSantis vowed on Tuesday. “It’s already made more of an impact than anyone thought it could possibly make. But we’re going to continue to make more of an impact.”

Read more in The Independent:

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White House preparing for DeSantis migrant flights to Delaware as state agencies ready response

The White House says it is taking over the task of coordinating with state agencies to prepare for the arrivals of groups of migrants organised by the governors of Florida and Texas after those Republicans refused to communicated with local governments or aid groups at all.

“We are coordinating closely with state officials and local service providers who are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Read more about the administration’s efforts from Alex Woodward:

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Jared Kushner: DeSantis using migrants as ‘political pawns’

Ron DeSantis’s use of state funding to transport migrants thousands of miles away from Texas all the way to Massachusetts appears to be too much for even Jared Kushner, a top adviser (and son-in-law) of former President Donald Trump.

He joined the ranks of those describing the governor’s efforts as dehumanising in an interview with Fox News.

“I personally watch what’s happening, and it’s very hard to see at the southern border, I also—we have to remember that these are human beings, they’re people, so seeing them being used as political pawns one way or the other is very troubling to me,” he said.

Read more:

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Texas congressman rips DeSantis and Abbott

Rep Joaquin Castro furiously condemned the governors of Texas and Florida this week for what he called a hypocritical stance towards left-leaning governments in Central/South America and the migrants who have fled them in recent years.

“DeSantis, Abbott etc are constantly beating up on places like Cuba and Venezuela because the leaders are so repressive and make the countries dangerous for people, and yet when people try to flee, they treat them like shit,” argued the congressman.

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