DeSantis migrant relocation program planned to transport ‘100 or more’ to Delaware, Illinois, documents obtained by CNN show

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ migrant relocation program planned to transport “approximately 100 or more” migrants to Delaware and Illinois between September 19 and October 3, according to documents obtained by CNN through a public records request.

The documents are memos sent to the Florida Department of Transportation’s state purchasing administrator from James Montgomerie, the CEO of Vertol Systems Company Inc., the company that Florida contracted to arrange transport for the migrants.

The memo explicitly states that Vertol Systems would provide the services to transport the migrants, “from Florida.”

Two “projects” were planned, according to a September 15 memo. “Project 2” would transport “up to fifty” migrants to Delaware; “project 3” would transport “up to fifty” migrants to Illinois.

Both projects were scheduled to take place between September 19 and October 3.

A second memo, dated September 16, combined the projects into one and estimated their cost as $950,000.

The memo also said the migrants could be transported to a “proximate northeastern state designated by FDOT based on extant conditions.”

CNN reached out to Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker for comment but did not immediately receive a response. A spokesperson for Delaware Gov. John Carney said he had no comment.

Vertol Systems was paid $1.6 million by the state of Florida, including a payment of $950,000.

The flights to Delaware and Illinois never happened. However, flight plans were filed with the FAA that indicated there was a second set of flights planned from San Antonio to Delaware.

A third memo, dated October 8, notes that Vertol extended the project dates to December 1, meaning that the flights could still take place.

On September 14, two planes picked up 48 migrants from San Antonio, Texas, and transported them to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The flights, paid for by the state of Florida, temporarily stopped to refuel in Crestview, Florida, and the Carolinas.

DeSantis has tried to sidestep criticism of the flights, saying they were necessary to stop the flow of migrants at the source before they came to Florida.

“If you can do it at the source and divert to sanctuary jurisdictions, the chance they end up in Florida is much less,” DeSantis told reporters in September.