TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State Sen. Jason Pizzo (D- Miami-Dade) is planning to file a lawsuit Thursday blocking Gov. Ron DeSantis from continuing migrant flights from Texas to the Northeast.
Pizzo and other state leaders have been concerned about the legality of the flights given the migrants were in Texas, not Florida.
“A government entity or an agency may contract with a common carrier or private carrier solely for unauthorized aliens to be deported in conformance with federal law, working with the United States. No one’s been deported. They’ve been transported," Pizzo told 10 Tampa Bay.
The legislature approved a state budget that allotted $12 million for “implementing a program to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state consistent with federal law.”
Immigration advocates have been quick to point out that some of the migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard were "asylum-seekers" which is a different classification than "unauthorized aliens" as defined in Florida law.
The law also explicitly states that the relocation funds are for removing people from, "this state," meaning Florida.
"Here's a perfect analogy. If you're standing on the sidewalk outside my house and I push you onto my yard, I shouldn't be able to call police and say you're trespassing. We're basically pulling people into the state of Florida just for some nexus, for some touchdown," Pizzo explained, referring to the quick layover in the Panhandle last week on the journey from Texas to Massachusetts.
On Thursday while speaking in Miami, DeSantis doubled down on the state's relocation efforts saying, "There’s no way you could do this effectively, remember $12 million to relocate away from Florida into sanctuary jurisdictions so that’s just been the most effective way to do it."
DeSantis also addressed the state's $950,000 payment posted Monday to the same aviation company that transported migrants last week to Massachusetts.
"It’s not an expenditure, the money is there, and then as expenses are done, it will get drawn down, but that has not been put to use, necessarily, there’s a lot of other things that go on other than just the transport," the governor said.