Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew about 50 immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. earlier this week at a cost to taxpayers of $12 million.
Orbitz shows fares start at $127 with connections for a flight from DFW Airport to Martha’s Vineyard. That requires an advance purchase. JetBlue shows a one way ticket, no advance purchase at $333. Total cost for 50 tickets: $16,650. Additional fees would have been charged for checking bags.
But flying non-stop on two planes chartered by the Florida governor, the cost to Florida taxpayers per passenger was $240,000. That included no in-flight snacks or drinks, but at least there was no extra charge for checking bags. Of course, even though they weren’t given round-trip transportation to and from Texas, DeSantis was paying to return the planes to Texas.
But that’s a difference of $11.99 million. Where did that money go? Chartering two planes is expensive, but not THAT expensive.
For his political stunt, which was meant to outdo our own governor’s stunts including this week’s dropping immigrants at the doorstep of the U.S. vice president, DeSantis and Gov. Greg Abbott may be in legal trouble. It’s against federal law to transport undocumented people across state lines.
And imagine this. Had DeSantis been truly concerned about the plight of immigrants, he could have given each of them the price of their airline tickets — $240,000 — and each would have done just fine for a very long time.
— David Taffet