State lawmaker files lawsuit against Florida officials over migrant flights

A lawsuit has been filed by a state lawmaker over Gov. Ron DeSantis' recent migrant flights.

MIAMI – A state lawmaker is the latest to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis’ flights of migrants in court.

State Sen. Jason Pizzo, of Miami, believes the flights that took Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard violates the Florida constitution.

He filed a new lawsuit Thursday against the governor, the state CFO and the transportation secretary.

Pizzo claims they aren’t following the rules when it comes to the $12 million migrant relocation program.

Pizzo is calling on a judge to bar the flights, believing they violate budget language, which states “to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens from this state.”

Flight routes aside, Pizzo also questions whether the migrants even meet the definition of “unauthorized.”

They’re actually asylum seekers and Republicans who created the program made a distinction during session when discussing SB 1808 -- an immigration measure that became law earlier this year.

“The Florida Department of Transportation is required to implement a program,” Pizzo said. “That program has to receive at least two bids. We have no indication that there were two bids. And the allocation appropriation of $12 million to be spent, again, very important, on unauthorized aliens, and we could question the immigration status of the individuals that were brought here from Texas. Not all of them are unauthorized, if any, because they were processed and paroled into the system.”

“Nobody originated here in Florida,” he added. “No dollar can be spent outside of Florida.”

Frank Collins III is Florida’s deputy CFO and head of communications for the office.

He released a statement overnight that reads in part, “We are in receipt of the filing and we are currently exploring options for sanction and-or countersuit measures.”

Meanwhile, the governor himself has yet to respond to the suit, however, DeSantis has continued to defend the flights.

About the Author:

Gio Insignares joined the Local 10 News team in May 2021 as an anchor and reporter. He’ll be co-anchoring the new WSFL Morning Newscast, Monday-Friday from 7-9 a.m., and also contribute to other WPLG newscasts.