White House officials had confirmed earlier in the day Tuesday that they were monitoring the situation. And, FlightRadar24 and NewsWeek previously reported that the migrants going to Delaware were on the same aircraft used to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Newsweek reported that the plane was scheduled to leave Texas on Tuesday morning before flying to Florida, experiencing a layover, then heading to Sussex County, Delaware. The airport is less than an hour drive from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where Biden has a home.
According to USA Today, the plane and the migrants did not show up at the airport Tuesday.
“We have no reports of anyone arriving at this point,” Jill Fredel of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services told the outlet.
Reporters asked Biden about situation earlier Tuesday after the president spoke about the DISCLOSE Act.
“He should come visit,” Biden said — seemingly referring to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — before exiting the room. “We have a beautiful shoreline.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a news briefing that administration is “coordinating closely with state officials and local service providers who are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims.”
Jean-Pierre went on to call the situation “a political stunt” by DeSantis.
Last week, DeSantis’ office sent two flights to Martha’s Vineyard, saying they were part of the state’s “relocation program” that intends to send migrants to “sanctuary destinations.”
Monday, a Texas sheriff opened an investigation into the migrant flights sent by DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, an elected Democrat, said investigators had so far only spoken to attorneys representing some of the migrants and did not name any potential suspects who might face charges. He also did not mention DeSantis in a news conference that appeared to mark the first time a law enforcement official has said they would look into the flights.
“I believe there is some criminal activity involved here,” Salazar said. “But at present we are trying to keep an open mind and we are going to investigate to find out what exact laws were broken if that does turn out to be the case.”
DeSantis’ office responded with a statement that said the migrants had been given more options to succeed in Massachusetts.
“Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and ‘left to fend for themselves,’” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said. “Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected.”
The relocation crisis began in spring, when Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced plans to send busloads of migrants to Washington, D.C., and New York City, in response to Biden’s decision to lift a pandemic-era emergency health order that restricted migrant entry numbers. Abbott recently began busing migrants to Chicago.
Last week, migrants were dropped off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’s Washington, D.C., residence
CBP announced Monday that for the first time ever, the total number of migrant encounters at the southern border has surpassed 2 million in a single fiscal year. Border Patrol agents encountered more than 203,000 migrants in August alone, according to the latest figures released Monday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.