Amid migrant arrivals, Newsom threatens DeSantis with kidnapping charges

California’s war with Florida has kicked up a notch after migrants were dropped off in Sacramento.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has threatened Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with kidnapping charges after a second planeload of migrants arrived in Sacramento via a private jet.

The backstory: California officials have alleged that DeSantis and his administration have flown migrants to Democratic-controlled states in protest of President Joe Biden’s immigration policies. Last September, DeSantis arranged and paid for nearly 50 migrants to fly from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.


  • The first planeload of more than a dozen migrants, originally from Colombia and Venezuela, arrived in Sacramento on Friday. They had crossed the United States border into Texas and were transported to New Mexico before boarding a plane. A second planeload of around 20 migrants, mainly from Venezuela, arrived in Sacramento on Monday.
  • While Florida officials have not commented on the two recent flights to Sacramento, California officials said some of the migrants were carrying documentation “purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida.”

What they’re saying: Newsom tweeted, “@RonDeSantis you small, pathetic man. This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. Kidnapping charges?” He included a screenshot of California’s legal code on kidnapping.

  • California Attorney General Rob Bonta said his office was “evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants.” He added, “State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting.”
  • PICO California, a faith-based group helping the migrants, said the group did not know they were being taken to California and had been approached by people offering them jobs.
  • The flights have sparked a political backlash between the two governors, as well as legal concerns. While DeSantis has not commented on the flights, his office has previously defended the policy of flying migrants to other states.
  • California officials are considering legal action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of the migrants.
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