- Migrants told the Miami Herald they signed forms to board a flight to Delaware organized by Ron DeSantis.
- DeSantis said the flight — to near Biden's home — was arranged and then canceled to trick the media.
- The fact that passengers were ready to board it suggests another story.
Operatives for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis persuaded Venezuelan migrants to agree to board a plane to Joe Biden's home state of Delaware apparently as part of a political stunt, The Miami Herald reported.
But then the flight was canceled, amid an escalating political firestorm.
A group of six Venezuelan asylum seekers staying in San Antonio, Texas, told The Herald they had agreed to board a flight to Delaware early on Tuesday, September 20.
They said they were told by a woman that there were better job opportunities there, a story similar to that told by a group of 48 migrants flow to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, under apparently false pretenses.
They were put up in a hotel but just before setting off for the airport, but were abruptly told that the trip had been cancelled, according to the Herald report.
The cancellation came as DeSantis faced a wave of criticism over flights carrying immigrants he chartered last week from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. A Texas Sherif announced Monday he was investigating the stunt for possible violation of trafficking laws.
Some journalists noted that on Tuesday one of the same planes that carried the migrants to Martha's Vineyard was booked to travel to near Biden's vacation home in Delaware in an apparent repeat performance.
It sent local authorities scrambling to organise facilities for an anticipated influx of migrants. Instead the plane, carrying no migrants, landed in New Jersey, NBC News reported.
—Christina Pushaw 🐊 🇺🇸 (@ChristinaPushaw) September 21, 2022
De Santis' spokeswoman, Christina Pushaw, on Twitter said that journalists had been tricked and that there had never been any serious plans to fly migrants to Delaware.
"The entire Democrat-corporate media industrial complex swarmed Delaware today because they thought that DeSantis Air was gonna land there," she tweeted.
The trick was part of a ploy, another source close to DeSantis told NBC, to "punk" the media and "put a spotlight" on the situation on the US-Mexico border, where Republicans blame Biden's policies for an increase in the number of undocumented migrants entering the country.
But the account of the migrants suggests there were serious plans to fly them there.
Migrants taken to Martha's Vineyard have said they were lured onto the flights on false pretenses, and were promised benefits and job opportunities that didn't exist.
Republicans have sough to justify the stunts by claiming that Democratic states that oppose tough anti-migrant measures should share the burden of migration.