Gov. DeSantis says only ‘consenting’ migrants were shipped to Martha’s Vineyard
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 3/8/24-Gov. Ron DeSantis talks about the close of the 2024 Legislative Session during a news conference, Friday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'These folks signed forms.'

Florida’s Governor is sounding off about sanctuary cities and his controversial migrant flights, saying that those people taxpayers paid to fly from Texas to Massachusetts boarded the flights to Martha’s Vineyard of their own free will and without better options.

In Sanford, Gov. Ron DeSantis said “everyone who gets on the transportation signs a form saying that they know what they’re doing, they’re consenting.”

“This is not something that’s being done against anybody’s will,” he added, before further justifying a move hammered as “human trafficking” by critics.

“These folks really had nothing and they had an opportunity to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, which had advertised itself as being a place where everyone could come and that nobody is illegal. And yet when they got there all hell broke loose on that island, they called out the National Guard. It was like a five-alarm fire and, you know, you know, they didn’t put their money where their mouth is,” DeSantis vented.

The Governor made the comments in response to a question about a federal Judge’s decision in Massachusetts earlier this month that held the feds did “not have jurisdiction over the other Defendants” in state government, but did “support the inference that torts were committed and (charter flight operator) Vertol aided and abetted their commission.”

That leaves the contractor as the sole defendant facing potential sanction for the flights in an action brought by Yanet, Pablo and Jesus Doe and Alianza Americas.

It remains to be seen how much free will the migrants had, and how much they were responding to false promises made by agents of the DeSantis regime.

Central to the scheme was a Texas woman named Perla Huerta, who recruited migrants from Texas to fly under the promise of help with immigration claims and job services.

DeSantis again on Monday repeated his claim that Martha’s Vineyard was a sanctuary jurisdiction in the interview, one adjudicated by fact checkers in 2022 as “misleading.”

“These folks signed forms saying that that they were going to do, and they had opportunities that they didn’t want to do, and the vendor treated them very well from what I’ve seen in the reports, providing food, lodging, all this other stuff,” DeSantis said, condemning the case as “frivolous” and suggesting that Vertol likewise shouldn’t be subject to litigation.

DeSantis has offered a series of dismissive comments about the flights over the years, which cost taxpayers roughly $35,000 per traveler. He described in 2022 the migrants as “basically destitute” and “put in a situation where they could have succeeded” in Massachusetts, where Martha’s Vineyard “virtue signaled” that the government was willing to help.

More recently, he also suggested that Haitian arrivals may be subject to similar big-dollar flights at the expense of Florida taxpayers.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Rick Whitaker

    April 8, 2024 at 12:12 pm

    hey ron, where is my $35,000 ? i want you to pay for my trips across the country in an attempt to get elected.

    • Impeach Biden

      April 8, 2024 at 12:41 pm

      I want reimbursement for my college education and my kids. Where’s my Joe Biden lotto cash? He still won’t get my vote though.

      • Tom

        April 8, 2024 at 1:31 pm

        So I assume you’re fine with trump promising this weekend to extend his tax cuts and adding 3.5 trillion dollars to the deficit? I’m no fan of student loan forgiveness but as a percentage of GDP’ it’s nothing whereas adding trillions to the national debt by giving tax breaks to the billionaire donor class is quite a different story. Crony capitalism at its finest.

        • Impeach Biden

          April 8, 2024 at 1:37 pm

          What aboutism. There we go. You guys do it too.

          • dont say fla

            April 8, 2024 at 1:54 pm

            but its your language, ibs. folks just be talk to you in your native tongue

          • Rick Whitaker

            April 8, 2024 at 2:11 pm

            IM, it’s what- about -ism when it’s used as a replacement for a contextual, rational, and hopefully truthful comparison. why do you not know any of this?

        • Rick Whitaker

          April 8, 2024 at 1:58 pm

          TOM, you are explaining something just too complicated for IM to understand. he has swallowed all the maga cult talking points and does not know they are distortions or just lies.

        • MH/Duuuval

          April 8, 2024 at 3:44 pm

          The first Trump handout to the wealthy cost $2 trillion. Now, add another $3.5 trillion — all of it for folks who can’t spend it fast enough and no matter what they do, their wealth grows.

      • Rick Whitaker

        April 8, 2024 at 1:35 pm

        IM, stay home then. surly you wouldn’t vote for that draft dodger trump. if you do vote for a draft dodger, then all that pro military bull you talk about is phony.

        • Impeach Biden

          April 8, 2024 at 1:39 pm

          Biden was a draft dodger as well. What’s your point redneck?

          • Rick Whitaker

            April 8, 2024 at 2:06 pm

            IM, my point is that YOU plan on voting for trump, who is a draft dodger. my point, is just too simple for you. you reverted to the same old what- about- ism defense the maga types always go to. how predictable. i sure do have you figured out well. calling me a redneck, how quaint. my definition of a redneck is a person that gets mad when you call them a redneck. call me a redneck, i don’t care. bottom line, YOU plan on voting for a draftdodger.

          • MH/Duuuval

            April 8, 2024 at 3:46 pm

            Trump, Clinton, and Cheney were draft dodgers, and W used his family name to go into the TANG and was AWOL for most of that period of “service.”

      • Michael K

        April 8, 2024 at 1:47 pm

        whatabout whatabout whatabout. Always whatabout.

        • Impeach Biden

          April 8, 2024 at 2:57 pm

          The peanut gallery speaks. 😜

  • ScienceBLVR

    April 8, 2024 at 12:31 pm

    How many taxpayers “consented” to this politically motivated human trafficking? Let’s add this to November’s ballot amendments! Do 60% of Florian’s agree to $35k a person to move Texas migrants? Instead of spending our tax dollars on our schools, our health care costs, transportation needs whatever? Not that ever serving Floridians is in DeSantis’s playbook..

    • Impeach Biden

      April 8, 2024 at 12:42 pm

      How many of us on a national scale have consented to the millions entering this country under Joe? How many hundreds of millions will this cost all of us?

      • Rick Whitaker

        April 8, 2024 at 1:30 pm

        IM, what- about- ism, that’s what i expected from a weak position such as yours.

        • Impeach Biden

          April 8, 2024 at 1:35 pm

          The only thing weak is your responses.

          • Rick Whitaker

            April 8, 2024 at 1:36 pm

            IM, yeah………….right.

      • MH/Duuuval

        April 8, 2024 at 3:49 pm

        Follow the real news: immigrants are working and paying taxes, and many won’t be getting any benefits.

        But, maybe you were contemplating going back to fruit picking and realize you can’t compete with a migrant’s output or low pay?

      • MH/Duuuval

        April 9, 2024 at 8:26 pm

        How is “informed consent” possible if one speaks no English and might not speak Spanish, but rather an indigenous language or foreign dialect like the young man in St. Augustine whose would-be arresting officer suffered a heart attack hassling a guy who had no idea what the problem was?

  • Michael K

    April 8, 2024 at 1:50 pm

    Truth is, the migrants were misled and told lies. This is well-documented. But Rhonda’s private airline contributor profited handsomely by “shipping” human beings out of Texas under false pretenses on the Florida taxpayer’s dime, to feed a failed campaign talking point.

    • Impeach Biden

      April 8, 2024 at 1:54 pm

      Come on Michael K. These people most likely went knowingly and now that you libs are all upset by this our migrants have been lawyered up and now claim they were forced out. Lotto fever in the US. Even illegals can play.

      • MH/Duuuval

        April 8, 2024 at 3:51 pm

        The court has let Dee off, but the airplane owner is still in court, and one of the main charges is that they lied and lured folks on board with false promises of benefit that didn’t exist for them.

  • dont say fla

    April 8, 2024 at 1:59 pm

    Will Rhonda also say his daughter consented when he knows she no comprendo’d what Mr PeRfectly Fine told her he was doing “for” her?

    Rhonda is a sick little fish.

  • woke

    April 9, 2024 at 7:43 am

    Let’s call it what it was – an illegal, classless political stunt by a loser who is desperate to be President. So what if the lapdog Legislators passed an after the fact law to sanction such a waste of taxpayer dollars. Illegal and immoral, plain and simple. Consent my ass. Screw you Rona!

    • MH/Duuuval

      April 9, 2024 at 8:29 pm

      MAGs have made a mockery of the ex post facto clause of Constitution. But, as Dana Carvey used to say on TV, “Isn’t that special!?”

Comments are closed.


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