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Pictured: Lt Gov Jeanette Nuñez giving remarks at the Republican National Convention
Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez, daughter of Cuban exiles, reaffirms the Florida Gov.'s message to send incoming refugees to Delaware, the president's home state, where he was also a representative for 35 years. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Deluge in the Sunshine State: Top Florida officials say incoming immigrants will be sent to Delaware

The Florida Governor’s Cabinet fixed on similar messaging in Texas and Arizona, where immigrants are bused, unbeknownst to them, to Democratic states.

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Florida Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez drew criticism in mid-August from political figures following her appearance on Actualidad, a Spanish-language digital media outlet and radio show, where she restated that Cuban immigrants would be sent up north to Delaware, the president’s home state. 

“Those numbers that have come through the border from Cuba, you can be completely sure that where they want to arrive, the final place they want to go is Florida,” said Nuñez, who is herself a daughter of Cuban exiles. 

Read a portion of the translated transcript. 

Nuñez's comments are a continuation of her boss’ messaging in April when he condemned the administration’s decision to end Title 42, a COVID-era policy barring entry at the border to respond to the ongoing health crisis that swept the nation. He gave the press conference in Naples, Florida after he signed the No Patient Left Alone Act into law. 

"If Biden is dumping people, which he has dumped people, they fly them in at two in the morning," DeSantis said. "They haven't done it lately, but they did it many months ago. We now have money where we can reroute them to sanctuary states like Delaware, and we're gonna do that to make sure we're keeping people safe here.”

Nuñez, addressing the same question, said they worked with the state’s legislature to secure funding and systematically transport arriving Cubans to Delaware as they entered the state. There is no mention of how it would pan out operationally nor where tax-payer money would be allocated to fund this event. 

The radio message sparked outrage from their Democratic opponents as they took to public platforms to denounce Florida’s leadership.

“Gov. DeSantis's proposal to forcibly transport Cuban refugees out of Florida is reckless, inhumane and a betrayal of our deepest values as Americans,” wrote Charlie Crist, the Democratic nominee for Governor. 

Nikki Fried, Florida Commissioner of Agriculture, called the remarks “wildly inappropriate.”

DeSantis’ latest sentiments on immigration follow a similar pattern from Governors Greg Abbott and Doug Ducey, both Republicans from Texas and Arizona, who’ve bussed refugees in droves to Washington D.C. and New York

According to the latest Reuters reporting in late July, up to 6,000 migrants were sent, by Abbott, to D.C., whereas Ducey has sent approximately 1,000. Additional refugees were also sent to New York, prompting responses from political leaders in the Democratic strongholds.

“Our collective response and service efforts have now been overwhelmed,” said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, while emphasizing the increased volume of arrivals has reached a “tipping point.” She requested the intervention of the National Guard, but they denied the petition, citing states have already received sufficient funding to maneuver. 

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he would receive the families as he welcomed them at the bus terminal where refugees arrived.

 “We are going to send the right message, the right tone in here for these families,” the mayor said.

All leaders also expressed overlapping sentiments about the Republican strategy to reroute the immigration crisis to other states, citing migrants as political pawns to send a message to Biden’s administration. 

So far, the President has not intervened, though the federal response via the National Guard may signal the administration’s position on the matter. 

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