Florida spends nearly $1M for migrant flights to Delaware, Illinois that were postponed
Documents from the Florida Department of Transportation released Friday reportedly show that the state has paid nearly $1 million to arrange two sets of flights, carrying approximately 100 migrants who had entered the country illegally, to Delaware and Illinois.
The two flights were apparently initially slated for some time before Oct. 3 but were halted or postponed.
According to The Associated Press, citing the department, the contractor hired by the state extended the window for the trips until Dec. 1.
The news agency said documents show Vertol Systems Company, of Destin, Florida, was hired to arrange the flights.
An employee was apparently sent to the state capital to pick up a hard copy of a $950,000 check after the state had hadn’t received paperwork for a direct deposit to the company’s account.
The trips would follow up the Sept. 14 flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, as well as busses of migrants sent north from southern border states.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis joined Gov. Greg Abbott and the Democratic mayor of El Paso in sending migrants to Democratic strongholds without advance warning.
The mayors of New York City and the District of Columbia have declared emergencies due to the influx of migrants.
On Friday, a Texas sheriff certified that the nearly 50 migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard last month had been crime victims – a move that allows them to apply for special visas to remain in the country.
The sheriff said an investigation has been opened, and the flight has also led to lawsuits accusing Florida of lying to the migrants.
While the flights originated in Texas, the charter plane carrying them made a stop in Florida, and DeSantis has said the migrants’ intention had been to come to the Sunshine State.
However, the documents gave no details of how migrants had been recruited for the Martha’s Vineyard flights, nor who had been hired to conduct that operation.
The Treasury Department inspector general confirmed in a letter to Democratic lawmakers that the agency is planning to audit whether Florida’s spending on the flights was improper.
The lawmakers asked the treasury to look into whether the state improperly used American Rescue Plan funds for the Martha’s Vineyard flights.
Florida lawmakers authorized a $12 million migrant program funded with interest earnings from the federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund, according to documents.
Fox News Digital’s request for comment from DeSantis’ office was not immediately returned.
Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi, Aubrie Spady and The Associated Press contributed to this report.