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Florida Admits Role in Flying Migrants to California

The Florida Division of Emergency Management (FDEM) has admitted a role in transporting 36 migrants to Sacramento, California on two flights in recent days.

The first flight of 16 migrants arrived last week, and then a second plane arrived on Monday with 20 migrants.

California leaders are investigating if any laws were broken and if people were misled.

Florida is saying all the migrants flew voluntarily.

This is Florida’s first public acknowledgment that is was behind the flights, after days of silence.

“Through verbal and written consent, these volunteers indicated they wanted to go to California,” Alecia Collins, FDEM communications director, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Ms Collins said “a contractor was present” to ensure the migrants arrived “safely to a third-party NGO”, named as Catholic Charities.

The FDEM also shared a video – apparently of the transport – which appeared to show the migrants, some saying they were well treated.

“From left-leaning mayors in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, the relocation of those illegally crossing the United States border is not new,” the statement continued, “But suddenly, when Florida sends illegal aliens to a sanctuary city, it’s false imprisonment and kidnapping.”

The migrants were carrying documentation that indicated the state of Florida’s involvement, even though they never passed through the state.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta this week said the first group had been transported from Texas to New Mexico, flown in a private chartered jet to Sacramento and driven to the Roman Catholic Diocese, a local church.

In response to the flights, Gavin Newsom, California’s Democratic governor, called Florida Governor Ron DeSantis a “small, pathetic man”. In his online response he included a screenshot of a California legal code section on kidnapping.

“We are investigating whether those orchestrating the group’s trip misled anyone or violated laws,” he said.

Last year, the Mr DeSantis sent two planes carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy area of Massachusetts.

Florida and at least two other Republican-controlled states have sent busloads of migrants to Democratic-run cities in protest against federal immigration policies.

Source : BBC