Breaking: DeSantis Responds after Learning Biden Has Flown 300,000 Migrants to Florida: ‘They Don’t Give Us Information’

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) spoke out against the Biden administration’s migrant-flight program on Wednesday in response to the release of new data showing 300,000 migrants have been flown into the sunshine state on the taxpayer’s dime.

DeSantis addressed the migrant flights in a speech after new data from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) found nearly 326,000 migrants have been flown from abroad to Florida through a parole program expanded by the Biden administration.

“They don’t tell us anytime somebody comes in,” DeSantis said. “We can’t verify that, they don’t give us information on it, we have not seen though large numbers in our communities all of the sudden.”

“It may be the case [Biden] is bringing people in under this illegal parole program, and then they’re migrating to sanctuary jurisdictions,” he added. “We’re not a sanctuary state. We don’t have sanctuary cities. We’ve took action to where you’re not getting a driver’s license. You’re not getting ID cards.”

The Biden administration announced in January 2023 an expanded parole process for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Colombians modeled after the October 2022 parole expansion for Venezuelans and Ukrainians. Under this program, at least 386,000 migrants have been flown into U.S. airports, and at least 326,000 of them landed into Florida, CIS found by studying public information on the U.S. customers and border protection’s website.

“This early evidence suggests that a great many of these inadmissible alien passengers, probably a majority, initially land at international airports in Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis's Florida. In fact, Florida turns out to be the top landing and U.S. customs processing zone for this direct-flights parole-and-release program, tallying at nearly 326,000 of the initial arrivals from inception through February,” observed CIS senior national security fellow Todd Bensman in a post explaining the migrant flight data.

The number of incoming migrant flights is potentially much higher because migrants could be arriving in international airports and transferring to domestic flights to end up in cities hours away from their initial landing spot, Bensman noted. The transfer flights would not be reflected in the data analyzed by CIS. The Biden administration has not released the airport locations for these flights and CIS is currently fighting them in court for the information.

The state of Florida has filed or joined five lawsuits fighting against the Biden administration’s efforts to use the parole process to release illegal migrants into the U.S., and the DeSantis administration is proactively addressing record levels of illegal immigration across the southern border.

“This is but one of the many examples of how Biden's egregious and unlawful immigration policies are disproportionately taxing the resources of certain states. As with Biden's other unlawful policies, we will continue to fight the CHNV program in court,” Florida attorney general Ashley Moody (R) said in a statement provided to National Review.

“The federal government is encouraging illegal immigration and even aiding these individuals to enter the country. They've cloaked these secretive flights as a lawful parole program. The state of Florida is fighting back in Court to end this practice and stop the federal government's illegal immigrant importation efforts,” DeSantis communications director Bryan Griffin told NR.

The Department of Homeland Security has published information about the expanded parole program and eligibility for up to 30,000 migrants from the selected countries. When the program reached its six-month anniversary in July, DHS disclosed that nearly 160,000 vetted individuals had arrived into the U.S. because of the program.

A spokesperson for the agency pushed back against the notion that the expanded parole program is leading to secretive flights sending unvetted illegal immigrants into the country.

“More than 14 months ago, on January 5, 2023, DHS announced processes providing certain Cubans, Haitians, and Nicaraguans who have a supporter in the United States, undergo and clear robust security vetting, and meet other eligibility criteria, to come to the United States in a safe, orderly, and lawful way,” the spokesperson told NR.

“These processes were built on the success of the process for Venezuelans. These processes are publicly available online, and DHS has been providing regular updates on their use to the public. These processes are part of the Administration's strategy to combine expanded lawful pathways with stronger consequences to reduce irregular migration, and have kept hundreds of thousands of people from migrating irregularly. The CHNV parole processes are public; claims of a secret program are false.”

The DeSantis administration sent law enforcement personnel to the southern border and southern waters of Florida earlier this year to fill the void left by the Biden administration’s lax enforcement of immigration laws.

In order to combat the crisis at the Southern border, DeSantis signed legislation last year mandating e-verify for employers with over 25 employees and imposing penalties on businesses for employing illegal aliens. The legislation similarly imposed penalties on human smuggling and prevents local jurisdictions from giving ID cards to illegal aliens. Moreover, last month, DeSantis signed legislation strengthening criminal penalties for illegal immigrants who commit crimes after coming back into the U.S. following an initial deportation.

“The efforts in Florida are making this state an undesirable destination for anyone in the country illegally. Since taking office, Governor DeSantis has championed the state's efforts to enact private-sector E-Verify, increase penalties for human trafficking and smuggling, and crack down on illegal aliens who commit crimes,” said DeSantis press secretary Jeremy Redfern.

A group of Republican lawmakers wrote a letter to President Joe Biden and DHS secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in late March requesting information about the migrant flights and the vetting process used by DHS to prevent national-security threats from exploiting the program. The letter cites previous CIS findings about the migrant flights and Freedom of Information Act request against the Biden administration over the flights.

“It appears as though the Biden administration has been facilitating the border crisis and even aiding illegal immigrants in violating the law and entering this country illegally,” said Representative Bill Posey (R., Fla.), one of the signatories.

“President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas have a duty to be transparent with Congress and the American people about the actions they've been taking on the border. Their refusal to do so has led to the Homeland Security Secretary's impeachment, and I have introduced articles impeachment for President Joe Biden for his dereliction of duty and refusal to uphold the Constitution and the laws that Congress has put in place,” Posey added.

House Republicans impeached Mayorkas in February for his failure to mitigate record levels of illegal immigration. The impeachment trial in the Senate is set to take place in the coming weeks.

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DeSantis Responds after Learning Biden Has Flown 300,000 Migrants to Florida: ‘They Don’t Give Us Information’

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