Eleven Democratic members of the Florida State Senate voted in favor of the current state budget that allocates $12 million to transport undocumented immigrants out of state.
Governor Ron DeSantis’ re-election campaign has taken aim at Democrats who criticized the Republican for ferrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard using funds provided in this budget.
Christina Pushaw, Rapid Response’s campaign director, pointed out on Twitter that Democratic State Senator Annette Taddeo voted for the budget after calling the relocation plan “cruel”.
Pushaw shared information about the March 14 state Senate vote, which showed Taddeo among 33 senators who passed the 2022/23 appropriations bill, also known as HB 5001.
DeSantis War Room, a Twitter account also dedicated to rapid response for the campaign, noted that Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book voted in favor of the budget.
Book had tweeted that “DeSantis’ puzzling decision to spend money from our state budget to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard lacks compassion and may even violate the law.”
On March 14, the state Senate voted 33 to zero to approve a conference report reconciling versions of the 2022/23 budget previously passed by the state House and Senate. Six senators did not vote, and DeSantis signed the budget on June 2.
The Democratic senators who voted in favor of the budget were:
Jason WB Pizza
Darryl Ervin Rouson
Victor M. Torres, Jr.
The budget also passed the Florida State House with a huge bipartisan majority earlier in the day, with a 105-to-three vote and 12 members not voting. The three negative votes came from Democratic Representatives Michael Grieco and Dotie Joseph, as well as Republican Representative Anthony Sabatini.
Republicans control 76 seats in the State House against 42 seats for Democrats.
Florida’s $109.9 billion state budget contains $12 million to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” according to federal law.
Documents available on DeSantis’ immigration website state, “The Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget creates a $12 million program within the Florida Department of Transportation to facilitate the transportation of unauthorized aliens out of Florida.”
Newsweek asked Florida Democrats for comment.
DeSantis has been heavily criticized for his decision to fly two planes of undocumented migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, and California Governor Gavin Newsom has asked the Justice Department to investigate the matter.
At a press conference on Thursday, DeSantis slammed President Joe Biden for allowing “millions and millions of people” to enter the United States illegally, along with drugs like fentanyl.
“If you have people who are inclined to think that Florida is a good place, our message is that we are not a sanctuary state, and it is better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction,” the governor said. “And yes, we’ll help make that transportation easier so you can go to greener pastures.”