DeSantis stands ground on migrant flights as Texas sheriff opens investigation

I-TEAM pulls state records showing Florida paid another $950K to aviation company in addition to the $600K for 1st round of flights

A Texas sheriff is now investigating last week’s migrant flights, which Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chartered to move immigrants from the southern border to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Last Wednesday, Florida taxpayers footed the bill for two planes to fly about 50 Venezuelans to the wealthy island.

On Tuesday, one of those planes appears to have an upcoming flight plan to Delaware, near President Joe Biden’s summer home.

Were the migrants brought from Texas to Florida to Martha’s Vineyard lured there illegally? That’s what Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said his detectives are trying to figure out. This week, he announced that he was opening a criminal investigation. Bexar County, whose seat is San Antonio, is where the charter flights originally picked up the group of migrants.

“Certainly, I can tell you right now, the allegations that we’ve heard is absolutely distasteful,” Salazar said. “It’s disgusting. It’s an abuse of human rights.”

RELATED: Texas sheriff investigating flights to Martha’s Vineyard | I-TEAM: How much Florida paid to fly 48 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard | DeSantis, Biden butt heads over Florida’s migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard | ‘It’s shameful’: Sparks fly after DeSantis sends planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

Six days since DeSantis chartered planes to fly the migrants to Massachusetts, the controversy continued. Attorneys for the Venezuelans say they were asylum seekers who boarded the planes being told they were getting jobs, money and housing.

“I would like to find out sooner rather than later what charges, if any, are going to apply and to whom?” Salazar noted.

DeSantis has been vocal about the issues. On Tuesday, he spoke about the topic again, this time in front of a crowd in Bradenton, saying he made the right move.

“What we’re doing is not the ultimate solution, but it’s opening people’s eyes to the ultimate solution, which is let’s have a secure border, let’s have remained in Mexico, let’s take the cartels seriously,” he said.

DeSantis stated the migrants voluntarily boarded the flights after coming to the U.S. illegally.

“If 50 was a burden on one of the richest places in our country, what about those other communities that have been overrun with hundreds or thousands?” he said. “It shows you now that these policies are on the front burner, Biden can defend these policies of open borders.”

There are talks of more movement of migrants with DeSantis saying he’s gotten the Florida Legislature’s approval for $12 million worth of migrant transportation.

The News4JAX I-TEAM on Tuesday pulled state records showing the state paid another $950,000 to an aviation company called Vertol Systems. That’s in addition to the $600,000 for the first round of flights.

Biden defended criticism that he was soft on the southern border while speaking to reporters Tuesday afternoon.

“What’s on my watch now is Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, and the ability to send them back to those states now is not rational,” he said.

Florida’s governor isn’t alone. The governors of Texas and Arizona are also sending migrants to northern, sanctuary states claiming they’re more equipped and willing to handle them.

About the Author:

Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.