Florida establishes program to relocate migrants (includes video story)

The Florida legislature passed a bill last week in a special session that allows the state more latitude in transporting immigrants from other countries.

Last year, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott bussed immigrants to so-called sanctuary cities and states, including thousands who were sent to Union Station in Washington, D.C. Florida followed suit and paid for two planes to transport migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, which cost close to $2 million.

The newly established “Unauthorized Alien Transport Program,” allows Florida to move international migrants who are located anywhere in the country. The state can “take necessary actions to protect Floridians from the impacts of the border crisis,” according to the measure.

After paying to move the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, DeSantis was criticized because the migrants weren’t from his state. This new bill expressly authorizes him to do so.

Unlike Texas, Florida only relocated migrants once because of legal confrontations that ensued. State Senator Jason Pizzo, a Miami Democrat, sued him over the action — and immigrant groups filed a class action lawsuit.

The bill now heads to DeSantis’ desk for a signature. His deputy press secretary said the governor will review the bill and “decide on the merits of the bill as presented.”

The legal challenges nonetheless continue, so implementation is up in the air.

Managing Editor

Natalie is a senior double majoring in journalism and English. She interned at the Miami Herald and was an NBCU Academy fellow in Washington, D.C., where she reported on national issues that affect South Florida. Natalie has an interest in political reporting and gender issues.