Mayor Curry criticizes migrant flights into Jacksonville, but questions remain

The News4JAX I-TEAM is looking into illegal immigrants being flown into Jacksonville's airport. The Governor's office says it's confirmed a Jacksonville murder suspect was on one of those flights.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The News4Jax I-Team is continuing to look into claims that illegal immigrants are being flown into Jacksonville in the middle of the night.

Jacksonville Mayor Curry said he’s spoken with Gov. Ron DeSantis about the issue.

“Planes dropping off those that have crossed our borders illegally in the dead of the night violated the rule of law. I have been working with @GovRonDesantis to stop this recklessness,” Curry tweeted Monday night. “To be specific, this is happening in Jacksonville without any communication with us. We hear about it after they land.”

Curry is referring to immigrants crossing the border from South and Central America into the United States. News4Jax posed a series of follow-up questions to the mayor.

News4Jax asked, which airport were they flown into? How many arrived and when? Are the arriving immigrants adults, children, or a mixture of both?

Curry was not available for an in-person interview, but a spokesperson for the mayor’s office responded with a statement: “The Mayor met with leaders from JAX (Airport) as well as Governor DeSantis and other state leaders last week on a separate topic, and this was discussed and confirmed. Mayor Curry says his response is noted in his tweet.”

The mayor’s office did not provide specific answers to News4Jax’s questions. It’s also unclear if Curry is aware of any specifics.

Citing a recent report, DeSantis said in a Jacksonville news conference last week that Yery Noel Medina-Ulloa, an immigrant suspected of murder in Jacksonville, flew into the area on one of the recent controversial flights being used by the U.S. government to move immigrants from the southern border to shelters across the U.S.

“There was the report in the New York Post about what they’re doing, what the Biden administration’s doing, flying in people who came illegally, dumping a lot in Jacksonville in the middle of the night. And there was an individual who had posed as a 17-year-old — actually was in the mid-20s — brought here, had been here, ended up committing a murder. And so now this individual has been detained, should have never been in this country to begin with, and definitely should not have been dumped in the state of Florida,” DeSantis said. “These are middle-of-the-night flights, no notification to the state or anybody and this is not the way you keep people safe. It’s reckless and it’s wrong.”

News4Jax has not been able to independently verify all of DeSantis’ claims or all of the New York Post’s reporting. News4Jax reached out to ICE for comment about flights to Jacksonville, and Medina-Ulloa’s involvement but did not hear back.

DeSantis spokeswoman Christina Pushaw in a tweet on Tuesday said the administration was able to confirm that Medina-Ulloa arrived in Jacksonville on a “Biden flight” on Aug. 24.

“The governor’s office does not collect this intel, but we have been briefed by state law enforcement. We know of 78 flights in total,” Pushaw said in a statement to News4Jax. “The Biden Administration, specifically DHS and HHS, are organizing transport of illegal migrants to Florida, so you would get the most detailed information from them – if they are willing to answer your questions. They have not responded to the governor’s formal requests for information about illegal migrant resettlement in Florida.”

President Joe Biden’s press secretary Jen Psaki was asked about this arriving flight of immigrants in late October into Jacksonville.

“Here we are talking about early flights, earlier than you might like to take a flight. It is our legal responsibility to safely care for migrant children until they can be swiftly unified with a parent or vetted with a sponsor,” Psaki said.

In an effort to get more information, News4Jax has submitted a public records request for flight logs and any pertinent reports in the possession of Office of Public Safety Czar Larry Keefe, regarding the arrival of the 70 charter flights to Jacksonville International Airport, with undocumented immigrants onboard from Aug. 30 to the present.

We will let you know if we get any answers.

DeSantis will be in Jacksonville for a 10:45 a.m. news conference Wednesday with Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.