Florida Democratic Caucus Leader Evan Jenne just condemned Gov. Ron DeSantis‘ use of state money to fund the flying of asylum-seeking migrants from Texas to Massachusetts. In a letter addressed to House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R) and Chairman Jay Trumbull on Monday morning, Jenne calls on the GOP legislators to object to the governor and Department of Transportation’s “unlawful actions.”
“Section 216.172(2Xb) empowers the Chair and vice-chair of the Legislative Budget Commission, or the Senate President and House Speaker, to object to any agency action that exceeds the authority delegated to the executive or judictal branches, or is contrary to legislative poly and intent, and prove that any member of the House may request that the speaker initiate the process for the objection,” the letter says.
DeSantis took credit for flying 50 asylum-seeking migrants from Venezuela and Colombia to Martha’s Vineyard last week – dropping them off without warning and using a bill appropriating $12 million in the budget to “relocate” migrants from the state of Florida to justify his actions and spending.
The sentiments of Representative Jenne were echoed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which asked for “transparency in the misuse of these funds,” saying:
“The Florida government is using migrants to try to score petty political points. Moreover, assuming this stunt was paid for pursuant to Section 185 of the 2022 General Appropriations Act, that program was created solely to transport migrants out of Florida, not between other states. Here, it appears that Gov. DeSantis is using funds derived from federal pandemic aid to transport people from Texas to Massachusetts. It’s a disservice to the needs of communities in Florida.”
The migrants were reportedly picked up in San Antonio, Texas, and flown to Florida and other states before reaching the Florida governor’s intended destination of Martha’s Vineyard. As Jenne points out in his letter, this is in violation of the 2022 legislation passed earlier this year – the guidelines are clear.
“Legislative restrictions in the budget are the law. Section 185 was clear in what it authorized and it has been exceeded. Speaker Sprowls and Chair Trumbull must object,” Jenne said.
“While we can discuss what Section 185 was actually intended to do, it is crystal clear that it was not intended to use state funds to transport migrants into the state solely so they could be deported to Massachusetts. This act is clearly contrary to the policy as written in the budget.”
Occupy Democrats reached out to Rep. Jenne’s office and to Speaker Sprowls for comment. We are still awaiting a reply.
You can read Jenne’s letter below.
Florida House Democratic Leadership just sent this letter objecting to the inappropriate use of state funds by the DeSantis administration to kidnap migrants and their children. pic.twitter.com/21UItBAHx9
— Thomas Kennedy (@tomaskenn) September 19, 2022
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