We passed a bill on Friday that included $18.8 billion for FEMA’s hurricane response.
Every Florida Republican, including Matt Gaetz, voted no. https://t.co/N7uxZScWHM
— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) October 2, 2022
I halfway feel like I’m stepping on Betty’s turf, but these Repubs! Nasty little would-be warlords, stealing every penny they can loot, trying to recreate a medieval fantasy where every baron swaps or steals goods and serfs, each one dreaming of becoming King Sh*t of Dung Mountain…
There ought to be a law. There are, in fact, quite a few laws which seem to have been broken here. Who’s gonna enforce them?
Perla Huerta, former Army counterintelligence, was the coyote hired by Desantis to lure migrants with lies onto the flight to Martha’s Vineyard. He still won’t talk about or provide any info to the public. https://t.co/nrJf2TFxlq
— Ron Filipkowski 🇺🇦 (@RonFilipkowski) October 2, 2022
SAN ANTONIO — In June, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a budget that set aside $12 million to create a program for transporting unauthorized migrants out of Florida. He touted it as the highlight of the state’s new spending when it came to immigration.
But just three months later, the money was being used in a place far from Florida, in a very different way: rounding up Venezuelan asylum seekers on the streets of San Antonio and shipping them on private planes to Massachusetts…
Florida officials have provided little information about the program or how it was engineered. But details have begun to emerge of the clandestine mission that was carried out without the knowledge of even the Texas governor, Greg Abbott, a fellow Republican: flights paid for with state money in possible violation of the state law that allocated the money; a charter airline company with political ties to the Florida governor.
And, in the middle of it all, a woman with a background in military counterintelligence who investigators believe was sent to Texas from Tampa in order to fill the planes…
Ms. Huerta, a former combat medic and counterintelligence agent, was discharged last month after two decades in the U.S. Army that included several deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, according to military records.
A Venezuelan migrant who was working with Ms. Huerta to recruit migrants confirmed her identity, and a migrant in San Antonio whom Ms. Huerta had unsuccessfully sought to sign up identified a photo of her in an interview with The Times. Several of the migrants on Martha’s Vineyard photographed her during the recruitment process in San Antonio, according to Rachel Self, a lawyer representing the migrants. Lawyers working with them were able to match those photos with others online and in social media belonging to a woman named Perla Huerta…
In the case of the flights to Martha’s Vineyard, Florida state records show that an airline charter company, Vertol Systems, was paid $615,000 on Sept. 8 and $950,000 less than two weeks later. The first payment was for “project 1” and the second payment for “projects two and three.” So far, Florida officials have acknowledged only the initial flights and have not spoken of plans for others.
The money to fly migrants came from a special $12 million appropriation in the state’s last budget, a brief item that gave funds to the state’s Department of Transportation to create a program “to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state.”
The program was conceived as a means for Florida to push back on the number of unauthorized migrants being flown into the state by the federal government. As of August, Mr. DeSantis said the funds had yet to be used, because the additional large groups of migrants that had been expected had failed to materialize.
He set his sights on the place where most migrants were initially arriving — Texas…
Vertol Systems, which was founded in the mid-1990s, offers aviation maintenance and training services, and does work for the U.S. government. Over the years, the company has increasingly networked with Republican power brokers in Florida.
In litigation, court records show, Vertol was once represented by Matt Gaetz, now a Republican member of Congress and a close ally of Mr. DeSantis. Another lawyer whom the company used for a series of lawsuits, according to information first reported by NBC News, was Larry Keefe. Mr. Keefe is now serving as Mr. Desantis’s public safety czar, leading efforts to confront immigration issues…
Everybody gets a taste! (And I sincerely hope they’ll all get to experience painful legal consequences, in return.)