DeSantis may have been inspired by a segment on Tucker Carlson’s show
A couple of days ago, Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz astutely tweeted that “when GOPers do depraved stuff it’s worth looking for the Fox host who suggested it.”
To no one’s surprise, the Fox host who suggested it was the host of Fox’s own White Power Hour: Swanson frozen foods heir Tucker Carlson, host of an old-timey white–fear-and-rage–stoking evening show.
Anyway when GOPers do depraved stuff it’s worth looking for the Fox host who suggested it. Tucker Carlson, July 26: “[Martha’s Vineyard residents] are begging for more diversity. Why not send migrants there, in huge numbers?” pic.twitter.com/R7Gvj9PsBE
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) September 15, 2022
The migrants were given fake brochures about Massachusetts’ refugee benefits
DeSantis insists that the migrants boarded the plane voluntarily, but the migrants say that they were misled by a “blonde mystery woman” named “Perla,” who offered them McDonald’s gift cards, a free flight to a “sanctuary,” and other assistance.
- 8 months’ cash assistance
- Housing assistance
- Transportation to job interviews
- Job training
- Job placement
- Registering children for school
- Assistance applying for Social Security cards
Popular Information got the brochure from Lawyers for Civil Rights, a Boston-based law firm representing 30 of the migrants.
DeSantis’ communications director Taryn Fenske told Florida’s Voice that the brochure was legitimate and that the information it contained was accurate. However, what she omitted is even more important:
- The brochure was not produced by the State of Massachusetts, nor is it official. It’s a “homemade” document pieced together from cut-and-pasted text from various Massachusetts government sites.
- While the benefits listed exist, the migrants to whom they were given are not eligible for them. While refugees are eligible for such benefits, these migrants are seeking asylum, and refugee benefits don’t apply.
- The devil is in the details. In trying to provide DeSantis with a loophole, Fenske insisted “the brochure does not say migrants immediately have access to the benefits.” But it worked — the idea was to convince them that those benefits were forthcoming, and all they had to do was board the plane.
“DeSantis clearly does not know the legal difference between refugees (who are eligible for resettlement benefits) and asylum applicants (who are not).
It’s legally no different than promising someone who you know to have had no military service that they will be eligible for veterans benefits.”
Cameron also said the brochures “are either evidence of criminal intent or criminal stupidity.” My feeling:
FDOT (Florida Department of Transportation) paid a secretive Oregon-based company to fly the migrants, and now that company’s website is offline
Here’s a record of a payment from FDOT to one “Vertol Systems Company Inc.” dated September 16, 2022 for the sum of $950,000. It’s courtesy of the @TampaniaBlog Twitter account:
I’m not sure if anyone sees my tweets but the State has a new payment of $950,000 pending for Vertol Systems! Listed as project #2-3.
A total of $1,565,000 to Vertol for “relocating” immigrants. pic.twitter.com/TJjUA04JKo
— Tampania (@TampaniaBlog) September 19, 2022
Typically, you’d be able to go to Vertol Systems’ site and see that they’re based in Oregon’s Hillsboro rather than Florida’s Hillsborough County and that they’re in the business of “specialized aircraft solutions specific to unique requirements.”
But you can’t. The site has been taken down…
…and quite interestingly (yet unsurprisingly), their LinkedIn company profile is unclaimed:
A Texas sheriff is launching an investigation into these flights, since they were a join operation with Texas
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar confirmed the investigation during a press conference Monday “to clear the air for everyone,” alleging that 48 migrants were “lured under false pretenses” to stay at a hotel for a couple of days, shuttled to a plane, flown to Florida, and eventually transported to Martha’s Vineyard, where they had been promised work and solutions to other problems.
From Sheriff Salazar’s Twitter account:
I have officially opened a criminal investigation against the individual(s) who lured and transported 48 migrants from the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, TX to Martha’s Vineyard. If you or someone you know has been impacted, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
— SheriffSalazar (@sheriffsalazar) September 20, 2022
DeSantis’ plan is backfiring
- CNN: Donations poured in and volunteers rushed to help: Here’s how Martha’s Vineyard communities responded to the arrival of migrants
- Episcopal News Service: Episcopal church on Martha’s Vineyard takes in migrants flown in by surprise
- Boston Globe: “At first, they were surprised, just like us.” Martha’s Vineyard responds to surprise arrival of planeloads of migrants.
And garbage human that she is, Christina Pushaw, Rapid Response Director for DeSantis’ reelection campaign tweeted this:
Martha’s Vineyard residents should be thrilled about this. They vote for sanctuary cities — they get a sanctuary city of their own. And illegal aliens will increase the town’s diversity, which is strength. Right?
— Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) September 15, 2022
Here’s a screencap, just in case she deletes it, as she is wont to do: