Florida senator sues Ron DeSantis over migrant flights


A Florida senator has filed a new lawsuit against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis for orchestrating the shipment of dozens of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

State Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Democrat who represents the Miami region, is accusing DeSantis of violating budget laws by using local funds to relocate migrants from another state, according to the suit filed late Thursday.

Pizzo’s lawsuit, which doesn’t seek any damages, is asking for a judge to ban DeSantis from using state money for any future migrant flights.

The state legislature passed a bipartisan budget earlier this year that set aside $12 million for a program to help “the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”

DeSantis, who is running for a second term in Florida and is a likely GOP presidential hopeful for 2024, tapped into that funding when he flew nearly 50 Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month.

Pizzo, who voted for the budget, claims in his suit that DeSantis is manipulating the language because the migrants were never in Florida — except for when their planes touched down briefly in the state before heading on to the island on the Massachusetts coast. 

Migrants on Martha's Vineyard
Nearly 50 Venezuelan migrants were flown by DeSantis from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard earlier this month.
via REUTERS
Jason Pizzo
State Sen. Jason Pizzo, a Democrat who represents the Miami region, is accusing DeSantis of violating budget laws by using local funds to relocate migrants from another state.
Facebook/Jason Pizzo

The Democrat lawmaker also argues the migrants are not “unauthorized aliens” because they are seeking asylum and currently have legal status within the US.

“This is very clear and straightforward,” Pizzo told the Miami Herald.

“The governor had legislators carry and pass bills that were designed to suit his agenda and that he subsequently signed into law. And even with that completely privileged position, he still can’t comply with the law. He set the rules for the game and then he can’t follow them.”

A DeSantis spokeswoman quickly dismissed the lawsuit, saying: “Senator Pizzo never misses an opportunity for his 15 minutes of fame and is challenging an action on an appropriation he voted for.”

Pizzo’s lawsuit is the second filed against DeSantis this week after he was hit with a class-action lawsuit for an alleged “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme” to transport the migrants.

Language from the budget
Pizzo claims in his suit that DeSantis is manipulating language from a bipartisan budget passed earlier this year that set aside $12 million to help “the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”
Facebook/Senator Jason Pizzo
Migrants on Martha's Vineyard
The Democratic lawmaker argues in the lawsuit that the migrants are not “unauthorized aliens” because they are seeking asylum and currently have legal status within the US.
AP

The class-action suit alleges the migrants were duped into boarding planes in Texas with promises of jobs and gift cards — and were fully informed of their final destination.

In response, a defiant DeSantis ripped into the Biden administration for treating migrants “horribly” and insisted that sanctuary cities — which include New York — have to “bear the brunt” of the White House’s open border policy.

“Those migrants are being treated horribly by [President] Biden. They were hungry, homeless; they had no opportunity at all,” DeSantis said at a Tuesday press conference. 

“It was volunteer, offered transport to sanctuary jurisdictions, because it’s our view that, one, the border should be secured, and we want to have Biden reinstitute policies like ‘Remain in Mexico’ and make sure that people aren’t overwhelming.

“But short of that, if you believe in open borders, and this is sanctuary jurisdictions that should have to bear the brunt of the open borders. So that’s what we’re doing.” 





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