Democrat Florida lawmaker sues DeSantis, others over flying illegal migrants to Martha's Vineyard

Screenshot via YouTube/NationalConservatism

A second lawsuit has been filed against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the transporting of 50 illegal migrants to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas. Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo, a Democrat who represents the Miami-Dade area, claims it is an illegitimate use of state funds and violates Florida laws. The lawsuit requests a judge stop the relocations. Is Pizzo looking for his 15 minutes of fame in this story or does he have a point?

Pizzo filed the lawsuit in his capacity as a private citizen, not as a state lawmaker. The 15-page complaint was filed in Leon County and also names Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Jared Perdue, secretary of the Department of Transportation.

The funds being used are part of a bipartisan budget passed in the Florida Legislature that allocates $12 million to establish a program that facilitates “the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.” Florida Democrats criticize DeSantis over the migrant planes sent to Massachusetts because the migrants were only in Florida when the planes briefly touched down at an airport in the Panhandle on their way from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. The lawsuit makes two points. The first point is that the migrants are seeking asylum and have legal status in the United States upon their release from DHS custody. DHS processes the illegal migrants and then releases them with permission to remain in the country while their asylum claims are working through the system. The second point made in the lawsuit is that none of the migrants were in Florida. They came from Texas.

“This is very clear and straightforward,” Pizzo said in an interview. “The governor had legislators carry and pass bills that were designed to suit his agenda and that he subsequently signed into law. And even with that completely privileged position, he still can’t comply with the law. He set the rules for the game and then he can’t follow them.”

The office of Florida CFO Jimmy Patronis responded by noting that Pizzo voted for the legislation that permits state funds to be used to transport illegal migrants out of Florida. Patronis said his office is looking into sanctioning Pizzo or countersuing him.

Patronis’ office said in an emailed statement: “Senator Pizzo, along with Minority Leader Lauren Book, voted for the $12 million appropriation to relocate migrants. Now that the law that they voted for is being implemented, and shedding light on the border crisis, Pizzo and Book have gone to their same old handbook, and hired a Democratic operative attorney to go after the executive branch for following the law. We are in receipt of the filing and we are currently exploring options for sanction and/or countersuit measures.”

Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director, said that Pizzo is looking for his 15 minutes of fame. She, too, noted that Pizzo voted for the legislation that provides funds to send illegal migrants out of the state. She described the class action lawsuit filed earlier this week on behalf of three migrants who were flown to Martha’s Vineyard as political theatre.

“If these activists spent even a fraction of this time and effort at the border, perhaps some accountability would be brought to the Biden Administration’s reckless border policies that entice illegal immigrants to make dangerous and often lethal journeys through Central America and put their lives in the hands of cartels and Coyotes,” Fenske said.

She added: “The immigrants were homeless, hungry, and abandoned – and these activists didn’t care about them then. Florida’s program gave them a fresh start in a sanctuary state and these individuals opted to take advantage of chartered flights to Massachusetts.”

DeSantis defended his actions during a press conference on Thursday.

At a Thursday news conference in Miami, DeSantis defended the program, saying it was stopping migrants from getting to Florida in the first place. He also said he had successfully refocused the nation’s attention on immigration policy.

“This was not an issue of concern two weeks ago, so we’re proud of that,” he said.

He’s right. His action caught the attention of media who essentially ignore the Biden border crisis on a daily basis. The media provides cover for the Biden administration and many deliver Democrat talking points. The vast majority of the illegal migrants come here seeking asylum but the truth is that most do not qualify for asylum. What will Team Biden do then? If their actions to date are any indication, the migrants will likely be allowed to remain in the U.S. anyway. They are spread across the country because the border is too overcrowded to sustain the two million that have crossed the border this fiscal year. Since Biden took office, the number of crossings is now close to four million. This is unprecedented and unsustainable. Biden’s border crisis is a humanitarian crisis and a national security threat.