Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Jun 8, 2023 / 07:50 am (CNA).
Officials in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration confirmed Tuesday that they were responsible for sending 16 migrants from the southern border to the Diocese of Sacramento’s Catholic Charities headquarters in California.
The South American migrants were flown to California from the Texas border and dropped off at the Catholic Charities headquarters last Friday, June 2.
The Florida officials also claimed responsibility for a second plane carrying 20 migrants that arrived in Sacramento a few days later.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management said in a statement to Fox News that the migrants’ travels to California were “voluntary.”
According to the statement, the migrants were sent to the California Catholic Charities to receive care because it is a federally funded charity in a sanctuary city.
“From left-leaning mayors in El Paso, Texas, and Denver, Colorado, the relocation of those illegally crossing the United States border is not new. But suddenly, when Florida sends illegal aliens to a sanctuary city, it’s false imprisonment and kidnapping,” the spokesperson told Fox.
The relocation of these migrants to California caused a significant uproar.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his administration would be opening a kidnapping investigation of those responsible.
In response to the Florida officials’ admission, Newsom told Politico that “all this does is reinforce the cruelty of this act and the manipulative nature of the act and the stunt that this is — the shameful nature of it.”
“We are very serious about pursuing action if the facts dictate it. And Mr. DeSantis should know that,” Newsom said.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statement Saturday saying: “While we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting.”
Katie Valenzuela, a Sacramento city councilmember, called the migrants’ relocation a “monstrous act of cruelty.”
This comes as border states like Texas have faced record surges of illegal migrants under the Biden administration, with more than 2.76 million crossing last year alone.
Border residents have expressed concern and even dismay to CNA that the situation in border communities is becoming untenable.
“It’s going to impact the city greatly, and also those coming over,” one El Paso resident named Rosario Reynolds told CNA in May. “I don’t think the city is prepared to receive them. Yes, there are shelters in place, there are different federal, local, and state help in place, but it’s not enough.”
According to a separate Tuesday statement from DeSantis’ office, Florida officials have made contact with over 5,800 undocumented migrants while assisting Texas officials at the southern border.
DeSantis is one of several Republican governors who have sent aid in the form of resources and law enforcement officials to the Texas border in response to a May call for assistance from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.
In his letter to governors, Abbott said: “The flood of illegal border activity invited by the Biden administration flows directly across the southern border into Texas communities, but this crisis does not stop in our state. Emboldened Mexican drug cartels and other transnational criminal enterprises profit off this chaos, smuggling people and dangerous drugs like fentanyl into communities nationwide.”
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