Saturday, December 10, 2022

Florida Judge Orders Florida Governor to Turn Over Records on Migrant Flights

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis was ordered to turn over records involving migrant flights his administration chartered from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. A Florida judge ruled that it failed to comply with the state’s public records law after an open government group sued for the information.

Last month, DeSantis chartered planes carrying about 50 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, getting the idea from the tactic to move immigrants out used by Texas Gov. Greg Abbot to draw attention to what they consider to be the Biden administration’s failed border policies.

Judge J. Lee March ordered the administration to provide records the Florida Center for Government Accountability group wanted within 20 days of the ruling. DeSantis’ lawyers argued that they should be permitted to wait until the beginning of December to turn over the records, but Marsh rejected that argument.

The Florida Center for Government Accountability alleged in its suit this month that the delay by the governor’s office in turning over records is unjustified. The group tweeted that it was “very pleased” with the judge’s ruling, saying, “It’s a great day for the Public Records Act and the right to know what our government is doing!”

Michael Barfield, the organization’s public access director, says, “This is a very important signal to DeSantis that he is not immune from the law, and he must comply with that.”

DeSantis’ decision has led to widespread backlash, lawsuits, questions about the contract and migrant labor use, and a Texas criminal investigation over whether the migrants were misled.

NBC News