Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo (D) filed a lawsuit on Thursday to block Governor Ron DeSantis from trafficking migrants from Texas to other states and violating state law. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue have also been named in the suit. The state has paid over $1.5 million to the Destin-based charter company, Vertol Systems, to transport asylum seekers misled by DeSantis operatives.
Pizzo contends in his lawsuit that the $12 million the Republican-led Florida legislature set aside for the relocation program violates state laws regarding the budget, including a state constitutional requirement that legislators are not supposed to enact substantive policies in the annual spending bill, POLITICO reported.
“The governor had legislators carry and pass bills that were crafted to suit his agenda and that he signed into law,” Pizzo said in an interview. “And yet, he still can’t comply with the requirements and restrictions.”
Occupy Democrats reached out to Senator Pizzo for comment. When asked about the suit and the misappropriation of state funds by the Governor, the Democratic Senator replied:
“Principle issue is that recent legislation that the Governor signed into law only permits state funds to be spent on ‘unauthorized aliens’ from this state – all reports strongly support three irreconcilable issues:
1) We have no evidence that they’re unauthorized
2) They’re not from this state
3) No Florida government entity may contract with a vendor who transports unauthorized aliens into this state
Therefore the state has painted themselves into a corner. If they’re unauthorized aliens, they’re prohibited from paying to transport into Florida.
Or….if the state claims they’re not unauthorized aliens and/or they’re not from Florida, then they can’t use the $12 million.”
The State lawmaker said he’d like “For the court to enjoin the state from spending any funds outside of Florida pursuant to the law, which says they can’t.”
In an appropriations bill passed earlier this year, the Florida legislature voted overwhelmingly in favor of using interest earned on the $5.8 billion sent to the state as a part of Biden’s American Rescue Plan – the same legislation that GOP Florida lawmakers in the United States House and Senate voted against on the floor. The $12 million windfall was to be used to “relocate” the migrants from the Sunshine State, not Texas.
48 Venezuelan migrants, who were here legally after turning themselves in after arriving in the U.S., were detained, processed, and released by federal authorities – given hearings to present their cases for asylum before a court in the coming days and weeks. According to reports, and statements from the migrants themselves, they were approached outside of a shelter in San Antonio, Texas by a woman known only as “Perla.” The woman lured the asylum seekers onto flights with false promises of expedited work authorization, food, shelter, work, and education resources.
Massachusett law firm, Lawyers for Civil Rights, filed a civil lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis, DOT Secretary Jason Perdue, and the State of Florida on behalf of the migrants misled in what’s been called a “discriminatory scheme,” according to Bradenton, FL affiliate, ABC7.
Occupy Democrats asked Senator Pizzo if there was bi-partisan support for the legislator’s suit. “Democrats loudly, some Republicans quietly,” he said.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick