As Republican governors of Texas, Florida and Arizona continued to employ political tactics to transport migrants outside their states, Delaware officials and immigration attorneys prepared to lend aid on Tuesday after reports suggested a private plane carrying a group of migrants would can land at an airport near President Biden’s summer home.
Flight-tracking websites appeared to show that a plane chartered by the same company used last week by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to transport migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, was set to depart from San Antonio Tuesday morning with a short stop in Crestview, Florida, before landing at Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown around 1:30 PM.
But by early Tuesday evening, the plane had not yet arrived in the city of nearly 7,500. Flight trackers showed the plane to be flying from Nashville to Teterboro, NJ instead. went
The office of Delaware Governor John Carney, a Democrat, said Tuesday it was coordinating with federal officials to prepare for a possible arrival. And Jill Fredel, director of communications for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, said in a news conference Tuesday afternoon that the agency had had no contact with the offices of DeSantis or Republican government Greg Abbott of Texas, which also migrants to other states. She said officials in Delaware were working with government agencies and community groups to provide migrants with food, shelter, transportation and health care and had prepared a centralized donation website to go live.
“It’s a humanitarian effort on our part,” she said. “We want to support people who may arrive in our state.”
Councilor Christina Diaz-Malone said Georgetown was ready for the potential arrival of migrants and she saw an outpouring of support with an experienced network mobilizing to help. She noted that Georgetown previously welcomed Guatemalans who came to work on poultry farms in the 1990s.
“This isn’t Georgetown’s first rodeo,” she said.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press officer, told reporters earlier Tuesday that the Biden administration had “received notification of the flights” and was “closely coordinating with state officials and local service providers willing to welcome these families in an orderly manner.” while pursuing their asylum applications.”
Asked about the situation, Biden noted that DeSantis should visit Delaware himself.
“We have a beautiful coastline,” the president told reporters.
As officials in Delaware continue preparations for a possible arrival, some migrants who boarded the flights to Martha’s Vineyard last week and the advocacy group Alianza Americas sued DeSantis in Massachusetts federal court on Tuesday. The class action complaint alleges that migrants were fraudulently targeted and incited “to board a plane and cross state lines through misrepresentations and false promises”. On Monday, Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar said he was launching a criminal investigation into the flights that took 48 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard last week.
In addition to DeSantis, Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey have in recent months sent thousands of migrants on buses to other Democratic strongholds — Washington, DC, New York and Chicago. Those who arrived at Martha’s Vineyard were mainly from Venezuela.
Rossana Arteaga-Lopenza, a volunteer at Casa de Venezuela Delaware, said she arrived Tuesday morning sad but ready to welcome all arriving migrants and serve as an interpreter. Arteaga-Lopenza described herself as a stay-at-home mom who cares about the community, the state, and fellow Venezuelans suffering amid the humanitarian crisis that has displaced more than 6 million people from the South American country.
According to the US Customs and Border Protection, migrants have been stopped along the border more than 2 million times this fiscal year. That number does not represent individual migrants, as many attempt to cross the border – and are apprehended – multiple times.
Casa de Venezuela cannot provide financial aid, Arteaga-Lopenza said, but it does provide aspiring Venezuelans with emotional support and access to food, shelter and information, such as how to enroll their children in school and where to look for jobs.
Before the flight was due to arrive, Arteaga-Lopenza hoped to welcome migrants with hugs and smiles, but said she believes their vulnerable situation has been exploited.
“I hope they don’t come, not because they’re not welcome,” she said. “We shouldn’t use them as a political stunt.”
News outlets have reported that Florida has used federal COVID-19 aid to pay for flights. On Tuesday, DeSantis declined to confirm whether he spent public dollars flying migrants to Delaware, but defended moving migrants to so-called sanctuary destinations like Martha’s Vineyard, saying that “it’s already made more of an impact than anyone ever thought it could.” to make. “
“What we’re doing isn’t the ultimate solution,” he said. “I think it opens people’s eyes to the solution, which is, let’s have a safe border, let’s let them stay in Mexico.”
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.