Illinois and Delaware Likely Next Targets for DeSantis Migrant Robberies – Documents Show Top Helper Enforcement Program

Topline

Delaware and Illinois could be the next targets of Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ political coup to relocate Latin American migrants crossing the border, according to a letter from the state-contracted transportation company, which would try to extend the controversial program until December 1. .

Highlights

Vertol Systems Company, Inc., the contracted transportation company for DeSantis’ so-called relocation program, is seeking to send 50 migrants to Delaware and another 50 to Illinois, according to a letter sent by the company’s CEO Vertol, James Montgomerie, to Florida Department of Transportation. , seen by the Miami Herald.

The transportation company previously listed the two states in a Sept. 15 memo obtained by CNN as the program’s next targets.

Public records and internal text messages between top DeSantis aides released on Friday revealed they were closely involved with the program, the Miami Herald reported after a request for public records from a state watchdog group, with its public safety officer Larry Keefe — who previously served as legal counsel for Vertol Systems Company — traveling to Texas to oversee him.

DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske told the Miami Herald that while the governor’s office has been focused on recovery efforts after Hurricane Ian, which devastated parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast late last month, the “immigration relocation program remains asset”.

Local officials in Delaware (Biden’s home state) had last month begun preparations for a Vertol flight from San Antonio, Texas, with a stopover in Crestview, Fla., to Georgetown, Delaware – although he was abruptly called off, following a criminal investigation by the Texas Sheriff. in the program.

Montgomerie estimated that two flights to Delaware and Illinois could cost around $950,000, according to the memo.

Large number

$12 million. This is the amount of money the Florida state legislature appropriated for the program, including the $1.56 it paid Vertol Systems Company, Inc. to send migrants on two Dornier charter planes to Martha’s Vineyard from San Antonio, TX. DeSantis said he plans to spend every penny of it.

Highlights

DeSantis came under fire after taking credit for the two charter flights to Martha’s Vineyard on September 14, which is now the subject of several lawsuits and investigations, including one by a federal Treasury Department watchdog into whether he used Covid-era relief money to fund the flights. The 2024 Republican presidential hopeful also faces a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of four of the migrants, who claim they were misled into boarding flights to Martha’s Vineyard, thinking they would be taken to a town in the East Coast where they would receive housing and work. Accounts of several migrants within days of arriving on the Massachusetts island revealed that they were approached by a blonde woman, later identified as Perla Huerta – a former US Army combat medic – to mount on planes, offering them gift cards and a free flight to a “sanctuary.” DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske said they would receive a “fresh start in a sanctuary state.” Democratic lawmakers, however, decried the move as a political stunt, with President Joe Biden slamming DeSantis for “playing politics with human beings.”

Tangent

Officials in Nantucket, Mass. (where Biden’s family often spends their Thanksgiving), had issued an alert last week after airport officials learned that another Dornier plane operated by Ultimate Jet Charters, a sub- dealing with Vertol, was to arrive on the resort island. This later turned out to be a false alarm, when the flight arrived carrying businessmen instead.

Surprising fact

The 48 migrants airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard could be eligible for special four-year U visas reserved for victims of crime, if an investigation by Bexar County, Texas Sheriff Javier Salazar certifies they were victims of a crime. This process, however, might take some time. Although most U visa applications are approved, the waiting list to get one includes more than 100,000 people, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Further reading

DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard Flights Could Backfire: Migrants May Be Eligible for Victims of Crime Visas (Forbes)

Nantucket on alert for upcoming DeSantis migrant drop-off as documents suggest he has planned more flights (Forbes)

DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard stunt staged with help from ex-Army counterintelligence agent, reports say (Forbes)

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