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DeSantis team rips federal lawsuit against Florida migrant relocation program after Martha’s Vineyard flights

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-team-rips-federal-lawsuit-florida-migrant-relocation-program-marthas-vineyard-flights

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ team responded to a new federal lawsuit brought by immigrant rights groups who challenge the constitutionality of the state organizing two flights of migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard. 

Florida’s migrant relocation program is “lawfully executed under an appropriation of the Florida state legislature (that, incidentally, had bipartisan support.) This program does not violate federal law,” Taryn Fenske, communications director for DeSantis, said in a statement provided to Politico on Friday. “We will continue to defend the state’s actions against these politically motivated, unsound lawsuits.”

The 28-page lawsuit was filed Thursday by three groups — Florida Immigrant Coalition, Americans for Immigrant Justice and Hope Community Center — against DeSantis and state Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue. 

It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

DESANTIS RIPS OUTRAGE OVER MARTHA’S VINEYARD FLIGHTS: ‘I DIDN’T HEAR A PEEP’ ABOUT BIDEN FLIGHTS

In addition to announcing a tax-relief proposal in a coming legislative session, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took questions from reporters about flights of migrants to Martha's Vineyard at a press conference in Bradenton, Florida. 

In addition to announcing a tax-relief proposal in a coming legislative session, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took questions from reporters about flights of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard at a press conference in Bradenton, Florida. 
(Tiffany Tompkins/Bradenton Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

In September, Florida officials arranged flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, that carried 49 mostly Venezuelan migrants to the island where former President Barack Obama owns a home. 

Local officials weren’t told in advance that the migrants were coming.

DeSantis, a Republican, claimed responsibility for the flights as part of a campaign to focus attention on what he has called the Biden administration’s failed border policies. He was joining Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in the tactic of sending migrants to Democrat-controlled sanctuary destinations. 

“Florida’s attempts to create its own immigration system came to a head on September 14, 2022, when individuals acting at the direction of Defendants sowed chaos and confusion by fraudulently inducing approximately 50 Venezuelan and Peruvian migrants, all of whom had been processed into the U.S. by immigration authorities, into taking a flight from Texas to Massachusetts, falsely promising them aid, jobs, and more,” the lawsuit says. “There was no aid.”

Despite initially welcoming the illegal immigrants — and condemning Republicans DeSantis and Abbott – Martha’s Vineyard officials admitted the elite Massachusetts island did not have the resources to address the influx of migrants flown in from the U.S.-Mexico border. The group was transported to a military base in Cape Cod. 

Two charter flights from Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, carried 48 Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard, Mass. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis paid for the flights. 

Two charter flights from Kelly Field in San Antonio, Texas, carried 48 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis paid for the flights. 
(Carl Juste/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Earlier this year, the Florida Legislature approved a $12 million budget item to relocate people in the U.S. illegally from Florida to another location. The money came from interest earned from federal funds given to Florida under the American Rescue Plan.

The lawsuit claims that the appropriation creates an incoherent definition of “unauthorized alien” that is inconsistent with federal immigration laws. The immigrant rights groups claim that the ill-defined designation may include people whose presence in the country and Florida is authorized by the federal government but who now risk harassment for merely wishing to either enter or stay in Florida.

Venezuelan migrants gather at the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal. The group was transported to Joint Base Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay. 

Venezuelan migrants gather at the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal. The group was transported to Joint Base Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay. 
(Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“Immigrants in the United States provide tangible benefits to the communities where they choose to relocate, economic and otherwise,” the lawsuit argues. “Spending $615,000 to transport asylum seekers from Texas to Massachusetts does not further a legitimate interest, it merely perpetuates xenophobia and hate by targeting Latin American and Caribbean migrants. Where the only justifications for a discriminatory law are based in prejudice, the law is unconstitutional even under rational basis review.” 

The lawsuit also alleges Florida’s migrant relocation program discriminates against “people of color.” 

A bus with Venezuelan migrants arriving from Martha's Vineyard embarks to Joint Base Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay. 

A bus with Venezuelan migrants arriving from Martha’s Vineyard embarks to Joint Base Cape Cod in Buzzards Bay. 
(Carlin Stiehl for The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

“The scheme by Gov. DeSantis and the state of Florida to use taxpayer funds for the ‘relocation’ of ‘unauthorized aliens’ is a blatant and unlawful attempt to harass immigrants at the state level,” Paul R. Chavez, senior supervising attorney with the SPLC’s Immigrant Justice Project, said in a statement. “Florida’s relocation program constitutes a discriminatory attack on immigrant communities, and Gov. DeSantis’ unconstitutional actions must be stopped.”

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The Martha’s Vineyard flight has also spawned other lawsuits accusing Florida of lying to the migrants in San Antonio to get them to agree to the flights.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/desantis-team-rips-federal-lawsuit-florida-migrant-relocation-program-marthas-vineyard-flights

Politics

Utah governor signs gender-affirming health care ban, school choice bills into law

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox on Saturday signed a bill banning gender-affirming surgery on minors who have not been diagnosed with gender dysphoria. 

The state’s Republican-dominated Legislature prioritized the ban and considered a first draft of the measure less than 10 days ago, two days after the Legislature opened this year’s session Jan. 17. Gov. Cox signed it a day after the Legislature sent it to his desk. 

FILE: Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during an interview at the Utah State Capitol on March 4, 2022, in Salt Lake City. 

FILE: Utah Gov. Spencer Cox speaks during an interview at the Utah State Capitol on March 4, 2022, in Salt Lake City. 
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The governor said it was important to pause “these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences.”

VIMEO SCRUBS ‘DEAD NAME’ DOCUMENTARY PROFILING FAMILIES UPENDED BY TRANSGENDER IDEOLOGY

“While we understand our words will be of little comfort to those who disagree with us, we sincerely hope that we can treat our transgender families with more love and respect as we work to better understand the science and consequences behind these procedures,” he said.

Among the critics is the ACLU of Utah, which on Friday urged Cox to veto the bill.

In a letter to Cox, the civil rights organization said it was deeply concerned about “the damaging and potentially catastrophic effects this law will have on people’s lives and medical care and the grave violations of people’s constitutional rights it will cause.

“By cutting off medical treatment supported by every major medical association in the United States, the bill compromises the health and well-being of adolescents with gender dysphoria. It ties the hands of doctors and parents by restricting access to the only evidence-based treatment available for this serious medical condition and impedes their ability to fulfill their professional obligations,” the letter said.

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The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Mike Kennedy, a Republican family doctor has said government overnight is necessary for vital health care policy related to gender and youth. 

People gather in support of transgender youth during a rally at the Utah State Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Salt Lake City. 

People gather in support of transgender youth during a rally at the Utah State Capitol Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, in Salt Lake City. 
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“Legislation that impacts our most vulnerable youth requires careful consideration and deliberation. While not a perfect bill, we are grateful for Sen. Kennedy’s more nuanced and thoughtful approach to this terribly divisive issue,” Cox said in a statement. 

“More and more experts, states and countries around the world are pausing these permanent and life-altering treatments for new patients until more and better research can help determine the long-term consequences.”

Utah’s bill comes as lawmakers in at least 18 states consider similar bills targeting health care for young transgender people.

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Cox also signed another measure that would give students school-choice style scholarships to attend schools outside the public education system. The bill also increased teacher pay and benefits in an effort to ease the state’s teacher shortage.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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Poll shows 0% of Black voters had ‘poor’ voting experience in November despite Biden claim of ‘Jim Crow 2.0’

A new poll shows 0% of Georgia’s Black voters had a “poor” experience casting a ballot in the midterm elections in November, the first since new voting laws took hold in the Peach State.

The results of the University of Georgia poll and high turnout proved voters saw “through the lies” despite claims from Democrats and the White House that said the new law represents “Jim Crow 2.0,” Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger told Fox News Digital.

“Partisan critics of Georgia’s elections described our processes and security measures as ‘Jim Crow 2.0’ designed to ‘suppress’ voters and ‘subvert’ elections,” Raffensperger said in a statement this week. 

“But record-breaking midterm voter turnout, minimal voter wait times and an overwhelming majority of voters approving of how our election went prove that Georgia voters see through those lies. They know that Georgia elections are safe, secure and accessible to every legal voter.”  

STACEY ABRAMS’ GROUP ORDERED TO PAY NEARLY A QUARTER-MILLION DOLLARS IN LEGAL COSTS

President Joe Biden and a Georgia primary voter

President Joe Biden and a Georgia primary voter
(Getty Images)

The poll showed 0% of Black respondents felt their voting experience was “poor” during the last election. Just over 72% of Black voters polled said the experience was “excellent” and 23.6% said the experience was “good.”

Additionally, almost 99% of voters said they had no issues casting a ballot and 95.3% of voters said they waited less than 30 minutes.

According to the poll, which was answered by 1,253 Georgia residents who say they voted, 84.1% of Black voters said they strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that it is “easy to cast a ballot in the state of Georgia” compared to 15.9% who disagreed or didn’t know.

REPORTER CALLS OUT BIDEN FOR COMPLAINING OF ‘POISON’ POLITICS WHILE SMEARING REPUBLICANS AS ‘SEGREGATIONISTS’

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks to the Buckhead Young Republicans, on May 19, 2022, in Atlanta.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger speaks to the Buckhead Young Republicans, on May 19, 2022, in Atlanta.
(Fox News)

Georgia voter turnout has continued to shatter records despite the 2021 legislation that Democrats, including Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and President Biden, insisted would make it harder for Black residents to vote.

In a March 2021 statement, Biden referred to the Georgia legislation as an “attack on the right to vote” containing provisions that “effectively deny the right to vote to countless voters.”

WHITE HOUSE PRESSED ON BIDEN COMPARING GEORGIA VOTING LAW TO ‘JIM CROW’ DESPITE RECORD TURNOUT

Georgia officials insist the new voting law makes elections more secure with various safeguards, while also citing record turnout as evidence voter suppression isn't happening.

Georgia officials insist the new voting law makes elections more secure with various safeguards, while also citing record turnout as evidence voter suppression isn’t happening.
(Stephen Goin)

“This is Jim Crow in the 21st century,” Biden said. “It must end. We have a moral and constitutional obligation to act.”

Biden’s Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Georgia, saying the new law was “adopted with a racially motivated purpose” that has “no place in democracy today.” 

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Georgia officials have insisted the law makes elections more secure with various voting safeguards, while also citing record turnout as evidence voter suppression isn’t happening.

“When it came time to actually present evidence to support their ridiculous talking points in court, President Biden’s DOJ and their liberal allies failed miserably,” Raffensperger told Fox News Digital in September. “That’s because the common sense election reforms in Georgia’s Election Integrity Act, like photo-ID for all forms of voting, make sense.’

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News Digital.

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Rep. McCaul on Air Force general’s prediction of 2025 war with China: ‘I hope he’s wrong … I think he’s right’

Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, weighed in on the prediction from four-star Air Force Gen. Mike Minihan, who warned his commanders to prepare for war with China in roughly two years’ time.

Minihan predicted that fighting will come after China takes advantage of the U.S. being preoccupied with the 2024 election to take action against Taiwan, which will be focused on their elections next year as well.

“I hope he’s wrong,” McCaul told “Fox News Sunday” host Shannon Bream. “I think he’s right though, unfortunately.”

McCaul explained that China very much wants “reunification” of Taiwan with mainland China. He said that could come about through influencing the Taiwanese elections in early 2024.

CHINESE MILITARY AIRCRAFT, VESSELS CROSS INTO TAIWANESE SPACE IN LATEST THREAT OF FORCE

“But if they don’t win in that one they are going to look at a military invasion, in my judgment. We have to be prepared for this.”

McCaul said “as long as Biden is in office projecting weakness,” there are “very high” odds of this happening. He cited the Biden administration’s failure with the withdrawal from Afghanistan, which he said led to Russia invading Ukraine.

Later in the program, House Armed Services Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., disagreed with McCaul and Minihan’s assessment of possible war with China.

DEFENSE SECRETARY AUSTIN ‘SERIOUSLY DOUBTS’ CHINA INVASION OF TAIWAN IS ‘IMMINENT’

“I want to be completely clear. It’s not only not inevitable, it’s highly unlikely,” he said.

Smith acknowledged that “anything is possible” and the military should be prepared, said “generals should be very cautious” with what they say and should not be telling the world that the U.S. is going to war with China, most importantly because we’re not.”

The Democrat said that while the U.S. must be able to deter China, he is “very confident” that a military conflict can be avoided.

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NBC News reported Friday that Minihan, head of Air Mobility Command, warned air wing commanders in a memo that his “gut” tells him a conflict with China is coming. 

The general said “a fortified, ready, integrated, and agile Joint Force Maneuver Team ready to fight and win inside the first island chain” needs to be established to prepare for the looming fight, and instructed commanders to report back by Feb. 28 on steps they will take to prepare for the war against China. 

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