September 16, 2022

Federal covid aid could help Florida pay for migrant flights

Tony Romm writes:

"Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) appears to have turned to an unexpected funding source to help pay for his plans to fly migrants to liberal-leaning communities: the interest earned on his state’s federal coronavirus aid.

A little-noticed part of Florida’s recent budget dedicated about $12 million to the relocation campaign, an escalating effort that saw the state send two planes filled with dozens of migrants — children included — to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., on Wednesday.


Speaking to reporters Friday, DeSantis said that Florida sought to target migrants who were “most likely to come” into the state, choosing those individuals to reduce the 'cost on communities” locally. He acknowledged Florida had “hired a contractor” and “done the flights,' suggesting still more to come.

Nevertheless, local experts and advocates still said this week that the funding approach broke with the spirit of the coronavirus rescue package. Alexis Tsoukalas, a policy analyst at the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], said the money could have funded proposals to make housing more affordable, combat wage theft, reduce college costs and more — ideas to help 'Floridians recover from the impact of the pandemic, not to support unhelpful and harmful initiatives” around immigration.'"

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