Breaking News
More () »

Florida lawmakers could make changes to migrant relocation program

Lawmakers will consider a proposed bill to make the program nationwide.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Lawmakers are considering changes to Florida's migrant relocation program as part of the special session.

10 Investigates has been looking into the program for months. Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed some of the money was used to transported migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard back in September. Now, a new bill has been filed to add more funding to this program, but some wording was changed.

Sen. Jason Pizzo (D-Miami-Dade County) filed a lawsuit days after the flight took off back in September to stop this program from continuing because he says the law that was passed clearly states the funds are to be used for the removal of illegal aliens in the state of Florida.

The bill that was filed on Friday in both the House and Senate, SB 6B, titled the Transportation of Inspected Unauthorized Aliens says to appropriate $10 million for the unauthorized alien transport program within the Division of Emergency Management to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens within the United States. That’s what makes this bill different. The program would be under Emergency Management and not the Florida Department of Transportation and the scope of the program would be changed to the U.S. instead of just in Florida.

This proposed legislation comes just days after a judge was set to hear Pizzo’s lawsuit to block this program. But 10 Investigates was told there was no judge available to hear the case, so that has been pushed back. The governor was asked about the funding at the unveiling of his proposed budget last week in Tallahassee. He says the program is seen as a deterrent to keep migrants from coming to the state.

“I think people are sick of having an open border with no rule of law in this country, so we can just sit here and do nothing about it or we can actually stand up and say whatever tools we have at our disposal we are going to use,” DeSantis said. 

He points to not just the amount of people coming over the U.S.-Mexico border as an issue, but also the amount of narcotics. Last year, 10 Investigates showed you how U.S. Customs and Border Protection is using new technology to scan for drugs like fentanyl at the crossing in Laredo, Texas.

The special session started today in Tallahassee where this the migrant relocation program is just one of several issues lawmakers will address. There’s also an ongoing state of emergency that the governor has declared from the influx of migrants that border patrol is now seeing in Key West. The special session is set to last a couple of days.

10 Investigates will keep you updated on it all. You can take a look at the proposed bill by clicking here.

Before You Leave, Check This Out