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Florida administration confirms it sent migrants on plane to California. Newsom accuses DeSantis of ‘kidnapping’

Meanwhile, arrests at the border have dropped 70% since Title 42 expired

SHARE Florida administration confirms it sent migrants on plane to California. Newsom accuses DeSantis of ‘kidnapping’

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento is seen in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, June 5, 2023. Sixteen migrants from Venezuela and Colombia were brought to the diocese’s offices on June 2, 2023, after being flown from Texas to Sacramento.

Tran Nguyen, Associated Press

Two charter flights arrived in California earlier this week carrying migrants from New Mexico, and initially, it wasn’t immediately clear who orchestrated the flights. On Tuesday, the administration of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed it was responsible for the charters.

California officials argued that “the migrants had been deceived into boarding the planes,” and promised “to initiate criminal and civil investigations,” The New York Times reported.

Gov. Gavin Newsom accused the administration of “kidnapping,” tweeting the definition of what kidnapping means.

What did Florida say about the planes with migrants sent to California?

Alecia Collins, the communications director for the Florida Division of Emergency Management, said in a statement released Tuesday that the relocation was “voluntary.”

“Through verbal and written consent, these volunteers indicated they wanted to go to California,” Collins wrote, per the Times. “A contractor was present and ensured they made it safely to a third party N.G.O. The specific N.G.O., Catholic Charities, is used and funded by the federal government.”

Last September, DeSantis sent a plane with dozens of migrants “from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, Massschusetts, as part of a purported migration relocation effort,” according to The Hill.

Since the move, multiple GOP governors have proposed bussing “migrants north to Democrat-led cities in protest of federal immigration policies at the U.S.-Mexico border,” per The Hill.

In the month following the expiration of Title 42, arrests along the southern border have dropped by about 70%, defying forecasts of a migrant surge at the border — predictions “made by Republican lawmakers and the Biden administration alike,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Part of the unexpected drop in arrests comes down to immigration policies that were in place before Title 42 was enacted.

What is Title 42?

Title 42 is part of the Public Health Service Act of 1944, which allows border patrol to turn away immigrants at the border who get arrested without processing their paperwork or fingerprinting them. As reported by the Deseret News, it expedited the process when people were caught at the border and immediately released them back into Mexico.

Because the people arrested at the border weren’t required to be recorded and their cases processed, it allowed for the possibility of individuals to try crossing again after their release, sometimes multiple times.

Under Title 8, which is what current immigration policy falls under and what the government used before deploying Title 42, requires a full process of fingerprinting, record keeping and paperwork for each individual detained at the border.

According to the Journal, “Migrants and smugglers they hire to help them reach the border appear to have interpreted these rules as tougher than Title 42, and rather than waiting for the policy’s end to come to the U.S., they rushed to reach the country before it did.”