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White House accuses DeSantis of using migrants as ‘political pawn’

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — White House officials said Tuesday they are coordinating with state officials in Delaware for a possible flight of migrants sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who flew a group of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Gov. DeSantis said he did it to get Washington’s attention about what’s happening at the border.

But according to President Joe Biden, unlike past surges from other Central American countries, the current surge at the border of the United States and Mexico is caused by migrants fleeing Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua.

“This is a totally different circumstance,” the president said. “The ability to send them back to those states is not rational.”

President Biden said his administration is working with Mexico and other countries to stop the flow.

In the meantime, however, Republican governors are taking matters into their own hands.

“Those migrants were being treated horribly by Biden,” Gov. DeSantis said. “They were hungry, homeless.”

DeSantis recently sent two planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. They were transported to a nearby military base two days after they landed.

“If 50 was a burden on one of the richest places in our country, what about all these other communities that have been overrun with hundreds or thousands?” DeSantis said.

The governor said his actions shine a light on the Biden administration’s immigration policies.

“At the end of the day, what we’re doing is not the ultimate solution,” he said.

DeSantis’ move has Republican support. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week he “personally thought it was a good idea.”

Democrats have condemned it.

“Let’s remember, these folks are fleeing communism. When you think about Venezuela — what’s going on in Venezuela, when you think about what’s going on in Nicaragua, when you think about what’s going on in Cuba — they are fleeing political persecution only to be used as a political pawn by the Florida governor,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said. “And that is something that the people in Florida should be asking the governor: Why is he doing this?”

There are reports that DeSantis could have more planeloads on the way with plans to drop them off outside President Biden’s vacation home in Delaware.

“He should come visit,” Biden said. “We have a beautiful shoreline.”

State officials in Delaware said they are in the process of setting up shelter, food and health care for a potential arrival.

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