Gov. DeSantis says rogue feds are ‘leaking’ information about undocumented immigrant flights

DeSantis 4
Details emerge slowly about illegal immigrants sent to Florida.

Governor Ron DeSantis is again highlighting a Jacksonville murder to spotlight what he sees as a lawless situation at the southern border.

DeSantis has repeatedly contended murder suspect Yery Noel Medina Ulloa came to Florida on a “midnight flight” authorized by the Joe Biden administration, dropped in Duval County by “contractors” employed by the federal government.

Ulloa, arrested Oct. 13 in connection to the death of Francisco Javier Cuellar, claimed he was an unaccompanied minor when he crossed the Texas border months earlier.

DeSantis blamed immigration policy for that murder again Wednesday, as he vowed larger action on flights overall during remarks at a Jacksonville charter school.

“We had somebody who was murdered by somebody who was brought in by Biden,” DeSantis said, urging “consequences for those contractors.”

DeSantis offered few new details about the murder. But he did shed light on how his team was getting information about the 78 flights bringing undocumented immigrants to the Jacksonville area.

“So what we’re going to do, I don’t know off the top of my head everything that we can provide,” DeSantis said. “I know when we initially got wind of this, it wasn’t through normal channels. It was people in the federal government who were effectively leaking this to us so that we have a heads up on it.”

“In terms of each individual flight, I can tell you: I know that they started in May, And I know they continued,” DeSantis said in response to a follow up on the same topic. “Whether they have the ledger or anything, you’d have to talk to my office about that.”

“Our state law enforcement agencies are engaged in this,” DeSantis added. “This is not something we find out ahead of time. This is something we find out after the fact.”

DeSantis said he had talked to Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and they needed to “talk to the airport people” to forge a solution “in the immediate term,” but he acknowledged even that plan may have its limits.

“The problem is the federal government basically has the runway when it comes to air traffic in this country. So I don’t control the air space,” the Governor groused. “The city of Jacksonville doesn’t control the air space. The feds control the air space. So they can shut us out.”

DeSantis, an attorney by trade, leaned on anecdote and supposition at various times during remarks to bolster his argument.

“Look, you can’t prove any of this stuff,” DeSantis said. “But they were bringing in flights in May and June, we found out.”

The Governor attempted some red meat humor, including a threat to take the undocumented immigrants and “send them to Delaware.”

In the wake of the slaying, DeSantis has aggressively criticized the Biden administration’s immigration policies, even as allies haven’t gone as far as he has in pushing the narrative regarding Medina Ulloa. His office, as Nate Monroe noted, attempted to tip what the Governor might call “corporate media” off to the storyline’s emergence locally in October.

Attorney General Ashley Moody on Tuesday offered the friendly Fox News Channel what interviewer Bill Hemmer called a “non-answer” when asked to corroborate DeSantis’ claims about the Jacksonville murder, saying her office was “delving” into the matter. The Governor’s Office said after that she wasn’t “briefed” before doing a national television interview on the subject.

Moody’s office offered a statement Tuesday evening that attempted to clarify the matter.

“Learning of secret flights and transports into Florida of those illegally crossing the border raises serious safety concerns, and it is imperative that Florida officials be apprised of who the Biden administration is transporting into our state,” the statement read in part. “Our office has had contact with (the) Governor’s Office regarding this issue and you can contact their office for more information.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]



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