EXCLUSIVE: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis followed through on his promise to drop off illegal immigrants in progressive states, sending two planes full of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday.
A video provided to Fox News Digital shows the migrants deboarding the planes at Martha’s Vineyard Airport in Massachusetts.
"Yes, Florida can confirm the two planes with illegal immigrants that arrived in Martha’s Vineyard today were part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations," the governor’s communications director, Taryn Fenske, told Fox News Digital.
"States like Massachusetts, New York and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden administration’s open border policies," she said.
"As you may know, in this past legislative session the Florida legislature appropriated $12 million to implement a program to facilitate the transport of illegal immigrants from this state consistent with federal law," she said, later adding that the state's "immigration relocation program targets both human smugglers found in the state, but also preempts others from coming to Florida."
The office of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker responded to an after-hours email from Fox News Digital, saying it was aware of the situation and that the arrivals were provided short-term shelter.
"The Baker-Polito Administration is in touch with local officials regarding the arrival of migrants in Martha’s Vineyard," Terry MacCormack, Baker's press secretary, wrote. "At this time, short-term shelter services are being provided by local officials, and the Administration will continue to support those efforts."
Fox News Digital reported in April that Florida’s budget since approved by the state legislature included $12 million for the Florida Department of Transportation to remove illegal immigrants from the state and relocate them.
Martha's Vineyard is famously known as a playground of rich progressives, including former President Barack Obama, who bought a multimillion-dollar house there in 2019.
DeSantis, a Republican, proposed Delaware or Martha’s Vineyard as a destination for such migrants, but his office explained at the time that they could also be sent "to other 'progressive' states whose governors endorse blatant violations of federal immigration law."
"It is not the responsibility of Floridians to subsidize aliens to reside in our state unlawfully; we did not consent to Biden’s open-borders agenda," the governor’s office said at the time.
In November, DeSantis said dozens of migrant flights landed in Florida at the behest of the Biden administration, and he threatened at that time to send them to Delaware on buses.
Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, began sending thousands of illegal immigrants to Washington, D.C., in April as the migrant crisis overwhelmed border states. In August, buses from Texas started heading to New York City and Chicago. Arizona has also sent buses to Washington.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who was put in charge of tackling the border crisis by President Biden shortly after they assumed office in 2021, sparked a firestorm this week after she twice declared the U.S. southern border is "secure" while administration officials estimate an average of 55,000 so-called "gotaways" each month — illegal immigrants who successfully make it into the country without being detained.
Fox News' Kyle Morris, Adam Shaw, Jon Brown, and Matteo Cina contributed to this report.