MIAMI — Paul R. Chávez, senior supervising attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Immigrant Justice Project, released the following statement in response to the Florida state government’s apparent use of the interest from federal funds intended for COVID-19 relief to charter planes to fly asylum seekers from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis authorized the use of $12 million in interest from federal funds intended as pandemic aid to fund a state program purportedly intended to transport certain immigrants out of Florida. Previously, the SPLC urged the U.S. Treasury to investigate Florida’s planned xenophobic redirection of $12 million in federal pandemic aid to target immigrants.
“This is nothing but a cruel political stunt. Seeking asylum is a human right and legal under U.S. and international law. The abuse of desperate children and families as political pawns is a failure of leadership and not in keeping with our nation’s values. These Colombian and Venezuelan migrants — like all immigrants — deserve to be treated with compassion, dignity and respect.
“The Florida government is using migrants to try to score petty political points. Moreover, assuming this stunt was paid for pursuant to Section 185 of the 2022 General Appropriations Act, that program was created solely to transport migrants out of Florida, not between other states. Here, it appears that Gov. DeSantis is using funds derived from federal pandemic aid to transport people from Texas to Massachusetts. It’s a disservice to the needs of communities in Florida.
“SPLC calls for transparency in the misuse of these funds and for the humane treatment of all migrants. Floridians and our immigrant communities deserve better.”
- SPLC URGES U.S. TREASURY TO INVESTIGATE FLORIDA'S PLANNED REDIRECTION OF $12 MILLION IN FEDERAL PANDEMIC AID TO TARGET IMMIGRANTS June 9, 2022
- SPLC DENOUNCES FLORIDA LT. GOV.’S XENOPHOBIC CALL TO SEND ‘ILLEGAL’ IMMIGRANTS OUT OF FLORIDA August 25, 2022