Delaware officials were preparing on Tuesday for a possible unexpected wave of migrants sent by Governor Ron DeSantis to land at an airport less than 20 miles from President Biden’s vacation home near Rehoboth Beach.
One of two planes that carried 48 migrants, mostly Venezuelans, from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week was scheduled to leave San Antonio on Tuesday morning with a short landing at Crestview before flying to Delaware’s coastal airport in Georgetown, Delaware.
“Our teams of [Delaware Emergency Management Agency] and [Delaware Department of Health and Social Services] are working with community organizations and other partners to ensure that migrants who arrive here receive the support they need,” Emily David Hershman, spokeswoman for the governor, told the Delaware News Journal.
Delaware officials, however, said they had no information about the plane’s passengers, but were instead responding to information about its flight plan.
At Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview on Tuesday morning, reporters noticed a larger law enforcement presence than usual, with about 10 deputies crowding around the airport campus, according to Delaware in line.
DeSantis’ office did not respond to requests for confirmation that the flight is carrying more migrants out of Texas, a day after the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced a criminal investigation into the governor’s first transfers.
The same contractor that organized last week’s operation, Vertol Systems, an aviation consultant based in Destin, Fla., was paid $950,000 by the Florida Department of Transportation for two additional flights to relocate “unauthorized aliens”.
On Monday, Bexar Sheriff Javier Salazar revealed the criminal investigation, saying the original group had been “lured” to the planes with false promises of jobs and other benefits.
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Appearing on Fox News with commentator Sean Hannity Monday night, DeSantis did not address the investigation. Instead, he launched an attack on President Biden’s immigration policies on the southern border.
He said the thefts over the past week were “clearly intentional and all the other nonsense you hear is just not true”.
DeSantis spent $615,000 in taxpayer dollars to charter the two jets and other expenses for what his critics called a possibly illegal “political stunt.”
The funds were part of billions of dollars sent to the state by Congress for COVID pandemic relief. DeSantis was authorized by the legislature to spend $12 million of that money to move migrants out of state.
The governor said none of those taken to Martha’s Vineyard were in Florida, prompting state Democrats to ask Republican leaders in the Legislature to bar him from using the funds.
While DeSantis calls them “illegal immigrants” or “illegal aliens,” the sheriff and others point out that the migrants were in the United States lawfully awaiting asylum hearings.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.