Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis joined Fox News’ Sean Hannity during his Monday broadcast to respond to threats of criminal investigations against him for the State of Florida’s transport of 50 illegal immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom has called on the Biden administration’s Department of Justice to investigate DeSantis, while the Sheriff of Bexar County, Texas, Democrat Javier Salazar has also opened an investigation.
DeSantis was dismissive of the arguments against the move, telling Hannity’s audience, “Give me a break.”
Salazar characterized the move from DeSantis and the Republican-led Florida legislature as “[leaving migrants] to fend for themselves in Martha’s Vineyard,” as the Texas Sheriff’s department tweeted.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation into the migrants that were lured from the Migrant Resource Center, located in Bexar County, TX, and flown to Florida, where they were ultimately left to fend for themselves in Martha’s Vineyard, MA.
— Bexar County Sheriff’s Office (@BexarCoSheriff) September 19, 2022
Newsom claimed that DeSantis was a “disgrace” and called his actions “monstrous.”
Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) slams DeSantis sending migrants to Martha's Vineyard: "What Ron DeSantis is doing is a disgrace. It's almost monstrous… It's disgraceful. He's a disgrace." pic.twitter.com/myfvY3T2g9
— Forbes (@Forbes) September 16, 2022
DeSantis however, presented a much different view of the move on Hannity. He described the transportation to Martha’s Vineyard as “voluntary” for the illegal immigrants, most of whom had traveled from Venezuela and reacted to the responses. “It’s only when 50 get put into Martha’s Vineyard, which wasn’t saying they didn’t want this. They said they wanted this. They said they were a sanctuary jurisdiction.”
He explained, “These were people who were basically destitute and then put in a situation where they could have succeeded, but that was all virtue signaling. And not only did they not welcome them, they deported them the next day with the National Guard. Give me a break.”
Initially, DeSantis had expressed his frustration at the response from Democrats, “Well, Sean, it’s really frustrating because you know, you’ve been covering this — millions of people, since Biden’s been president, illegally coming across the southern border. Did they freak out about that? No.
“You’ve had migrants die in the Rio Grande. You had 50 die in Texas, in a trailer because they were being neglected. Was there a freak out about that? No, there wasn’t,” he added, going on to describe the influx of criminal aliens pouring over the southern border into American cities.
“You’ve had criminal aliens get across that southern border and victimize Americans, killing some, raping some. Was there any type of outrage about that? No.”
DeSantis also made note of the ongoing epidemic of fentanyl deaths, linking them to the illegal smuggling of the lethal drug over the border with Mexico.
Contrary to the assertions of Newsom and Salazar that the illegal immigrants were essentially dropped at the Massachusetts vacation destination for America’s wealthiest figures, he told Hannity that the illegal immigrants who volunteered for transportation there were well cared for. Hannity alluded that they were “put up in hotels, given accommodations. They were fed. They were showered. They were offered haircuts and any of the services that they were needed.”
DeSantis was quick to add, “Yeah. Not only that. They all signed consent forms to go, and then the vendor that, that is doing this for Florida provided them with a packet that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard. It had the numbers for different services on Martha’s Vineyard, and then it had numbers for the overall agencies in Massachusetts that handle things involving immigration and refugees.”
He then cited the availability of jobs and accommodations on the island. “So it was clearly voluntary, and all the other nonsense you’re hearing is just not true. And why wouldn’t they want to go given where they were? They were in really, really bad shape, and they got to be cleaned up, everything treated well, and then put in a situation — because, Sean, there are jobs available in Martha’s Vineyard. There is lodging available in Martha’s Vineyard.”
DeSantis pointed out to Hannity’s audience that the illegal immigrants were brought to what was hailed a “sanctuary jurisdiction.” He told them, “Had they lived up to their — what they built themselves at as a sanctuary jurisdiction, they could have absorbed those people without a problem,” alluding to his earlier statement the island’s status was “all virtue signaling.”
DeSantis then posed a series of rhetorical questions that remain unanswered by the Biden administration. “But here’s the thing, they said they didn’t have housing, they said they couldn’t accommodate. Like let’s just say that’s true for a minute — well, what does that mean for these poor towns in Texas? What does it mean for these other places across the country that are seeing influx? What does it mean to these small towns that Biden has dumped so many people in?”