Watch CBS News

DeSantis says he may send Haitian migrants landing in Florida to Massachusetts

Haitian migrants in Florida may be sent to Martha's Vineyard, DeSantis says
Haitian migrants in Florida may be sent to Martha's Vineyard, DeSantis says 00:28

MARTHA'S VINEYARD - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he may send more migrants to Massachusetts. The Republican and former presidential candidate suggested in a recent interview that Haitian migrants arriving in his state could be headed to Martha's Vineyard.

"We do have our transport program," DeSantis said on the podcast "The Dana Show with Dana Loesch." "So if Haitians land in the Florida Keys, their next stop very well may be Martha's Vineyard."

Florida anticipating increased Haitian migration

Florida deployed forces earlier this month in anticipation of increased Haitian migration to the state by boat, as violence grows in their country. But as of this week, U.S. officials told CBS News they haven't seen a spike in migrants trying to reach U.S. shores.

Haiti is in turmoil as an estimated 15,000 people have been driven from their homes while powerful gangs attack prisons and airports in the capital city of Port-au-Prince. More than 1,190 people in Haiti have been killed since the start of the year, according to the United Nations.  

DeSantis previously sent Venezuelan migrants to Massachusetts

In September 2022, DeSantis made national headlines when he flew 50 migrants from Venezuela to Martha's Vineyard, saying states with sanctuary policies should take care of them. Massachusetts relocated the migrants to Joint Base Cape Cod, where they received housing and other services. 

A Texas sheriff's department last summer recommended criminal charges against the governor's administration, saying migrants were lured onto flights with false promises of jobs. 

Massachusetts emergency shelters at capacity

Massachusetts is dealing with a crisis of its own from an influx of migrants. The state's emergency shelter system hit capacity in November, and dozens of families with no place to go have been sleeping at Boston's Logan Airport. Gov. Maura Healey's administration has scrambled to open new temporary shelters to take in migrants and homeless families on the waiting list. 

A high percentage of the migrants arriving in the state are from Haiti. Those helping the immigrants have told WBZ-TV that many are drawn to the state by word of mouth, as Massachusetts has the third-largest Haitian diaspora in the country. 

Healey has blamed Congress for the crisis, saying a bipartisan border bill would have provided resources to help states deal with the migrant situation. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.