Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist joined state Sen. Annette Taddeo and a handful of Hispanic community leaders Wednesday to discuss Gov. Ron DeSantis’ move to fly 50 undocumented immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
Crist slammed the Governor over the controversial flights, calling the action a “vile political stunt.”
“Ron — you trafficked these people. You lied to them. You spent our tax money flying them across the country,” Crist said. “Now, because of you Floridians are left holding the bag for your games. There is no evidence that these refugees ever sought to come to Florida. So Ron had to trick them to participate in this political stunt.”
The Venezuelan migrants, who were asylum seekers, were lured into the Florida-funded charter flights with the promise of job opportunities and a better life. They were then flown from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, without shelter or resources in place upon their arrival.
Crist said the political stunt helped serve as a distraction from recent anti-abortion rights legislation brought by U.S. Senate Republicans.
“He spent the last few months trying to avoid talking about his ban. So instead, he decided to change the subject. He didn’t care the Florida taxpayers and refugees fleeing socialist dictatorships will pay the price,” Crist said.
Taddeo, who herself fled from Colombia at 17 after terrorists kidnapped her father, called GOP support for DeSantis’ actions hypocritical, citing the recent movement by state leadership against communism.
“Look, politicians in Miami, where I represent in the state Senate, love to stand up and talk about communism,” she said. “If it was not obvious before, that they use the pain and suffering of our communities for their own game, now it is plain obvious.”
Ade Ferro, the executive director of the Venezuelan American Caucus, echoed Taddeo’s sentiments.
“Today, Governor Ron DeSantis continues his inhuman and cruel political show at the cost of the desperation and suffering of Venezuelan immigrants,” she said. “We don’t know when he will put more immigrants on a plane. We don’t know how much more taxpayer money he will use to make his political stance. He does not care about our demand that he must stop using human beings for his personal profit.”
“Calling out Maduro’s criminal and cruel dictatorship and despising the immigrants who are desperately escaping that dictatorship is, to say the least, hypocritical and manipulative,” she continued.
Ferro also criticized the financial toll the flights have on Florida taxpayers. The flights cost the state at least $615,000, part of $12 million allocated in the budget for “migrant relocation.”
“We want to remind Governor Ron DeSantis that all asylum seekers must be treated with dignity and respect, and not as pawns in his cruel and horrific political games,” she said.
“Trying to please and galvanize his extremist base by putting on political shows that Floridians pay for with their taxes just to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 is also another demonstration that he cares very little for the residents of this state, all of us.”
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office opened a criminal investigation Monday into the flights, investigating the incident as a potential human trafficking crime. Immigration attorney Elizabeth Ricci, who also spoke Wednesday, said that she believes the flights do fall under the country’s definition of human trafficking.
“These aliens were not unauthorized, they were seeking asylum under international law, which they’re allowed to do,” she said. “It’s trafficking due to the fact that they were told, and DeSantis said this in a press conference, that they would have ‘better lives and jobs.’ The enticement to go somewhere because of better jobs or opportunities falls squarely in the definition of trafficking.”
Massachusetts state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, representing the state where the migrants ultimately landed, provided an update on their situation, saying they were welcomed with open arms.
“Governor DeSantis is a coward,” he said. “Migrants … that were denied their legal rights, that were used as human pawns in Massachusetts, have been received with open arms.”
The Venezuelan migrants flown to the upscale Massachusetts island have sued DeSantis and his transportation secretary for engaging in a “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme” to relocate them.
Kelly Hayes studied journalism and political science at the University of Florida. Kelly was born and raised in Tampa Bay. A recent graduate, she enjoys government and legal reporting. She has experience covering the Florida Legislature as well as local government, and is a proud Alligator alum. You can reach Kelly at [email protected]
September 21, 2022 at 1:09 pm
DeSantis’s political theatrics may cost him the election. Independent voters in Florida are unhappy with his never ending clown show.
REPUBLICANS ARE AMERICA’S PROBLEM
VOTE ALL REPUBLICANS OUT OF OFFICE!
September 21, 2022 at 1:28 pm
Call it a political stunt if you want to. Something had to be done to wake up the Biden administration, the non reporting MSM, the coastal elite’s, etc. The Democrats were just fine with Texas being overrun with millions of illegals. Now the Governor’s of Arizona, Florida and Texas have moved this lack of border control up to a main news story. You Dems have been exposed for your bogus “sanctuary city” talk. Something has to be done. Funny again how you Dems didn’t say a word as Joe Biden was flying illegals around the country in the middle of the night hoping to sneak them into communities. This lack of control on what was once our Southern border is going to hurt you come November. Abortion will not save your party.
September 21, 2022 at 2:13 pm
Something had to be done..but not this. You lack morality as most Trump supporters do.
September 21, 2022 at 2:45 pm
Joey, deranged. You pathetic scoundrels didn’t care when 75 drowned, 100’s died in desert, and 53 died in that hack sheriffs county, with no law violated investigation.
It took Gov Kahones, America’s Gov to shake up the dynamic and liberal media and Dems meltdown.
Loser, pervert Soros troll corsin.
September 21, 2022 at 2:47 pm
Not true Joe Corsin or whatever character you are playing today. How about just protecting the sanctity of our borders? I’d that asking for too much or do you and your leftist friends prefer total chaos because that is what’s going on right now.
September 21, 2022 at 3:22 pm
The sky is falling!!! Quick, elect another shill for billionaires or far right mad man! 👹
September 21, 2022 at 1:33 pm
I’m not complaining about the “stunt” and frankly I doubt it will change any minds when it comes to the vote. Floridians as a whole are very happy with Governor DeSantis.
September 21, 2022 at 1:33 pm
Wah, Wah, and Wah!
Chameleon joined by tarantula and other out of mind, deranged whiners.
USA Today, liberal Suffolk Dem supportive partisan poll has America’s Gov up. DeSantis up 7, Rubio up 4, repeat Dem polls. In a reliable objective poll, both up 10. They don’t trail in any.
Go away whiny losers. Peter h you are the towel boy.
September 21, 2022 at 2:16 pm
👆 Vote for me. I’ll give this guy a spinning round house kick to the face…and a knee to the balls.
September 21, 2022 at 2:40 pm
Same incompetent, meaningless babble. You couldn’t kick a window if your life depended it, but you do grab Elliott’s and Charlie’s nuts, privates.
September 21, 2022 at 3:25 pm
I’ll grab you by the hair and sling you around…whip you around in the air.
September 21, 2022 at 1:49 pm
So if they claim human trafficking took place in the flight from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, then that standard should be applied to the government of Martha’s Vineyard and Massachusetts, who within one day ferried the asylum seekers back to the mainland. There were some enlightening interviews on the WaPO article about this quoting the asylum seekers as saying it was a stroke of luck that they were able to board that plane. To
Martha vineyard’s credit they did give them all phones and meals before they booted them from their lovely little island. It doesn’t sound like anyone boarded the flight by force, fraud or coercion- the standard for human trafficking to have taken place.
September 21, 2022 at 1:58 pm
There were human rights violations, civil rights violations, and one rape! Many sexual assaults!
September 21, 2022 at 4:14 pm
Just another example of Desantis’s lack of morals and compassion.
The free press needs to increase their efforts to stop Desantis’s hiding from voters–who overwhelmingly oppose abortion bans– and explain his extremist law banning abortion in cases of rape and incest–even for little girls, his sadistic vetoes of contraceptives for poor women–knowing they will become pregnant, his belief that he owns women and has a God-given right to insert himself into a woman’s body against her will. These are acts that abusers commit. Men are arrested for domestic violence when they do these things!
Why is Desantis hiding his agenda? If re-elected, total abortion and contraceptives bans are almost certain, but what about out-of-state travel for pregnant women? Bans on chemotherapy and radiation treatments? Denying women any medication that could harm a potential embryo? It’s already happening in other states with bans, like Texas, where oncologists are waiting for pregnant women with cancer to get sicker before they treat them because state law allows abortion only ‘at risk of death’.
Like any abuser, Desantis’s mental and physical violence toward women will continue to escalate until he is forced to stop. If re-elected, Desantis will not let Abbott out-do him in cruelty.
VOTE DESANTIS OUT TO PROTECT WOMEN’S RIGHTS AND LIVES!
September 21, 2022 at 6:13 pm
It wasn’t a stunt when Biben and the Dems let illegals imagrants with covid 19 in.
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