(CNSNews.com) - The 50 Venezuelans shipped to Martha's Vineyard "all signed consent forms" before departing Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox News's Sean Hannity Monday night.
DeSantis said the illegal border-crossers, most of them adults, were also provided with maps and phone numbers for various social and immigration services available on Martha's Vineyard and in the rest of Massachusetts.
"So it was clearly voluntary. All the other nonsense you're hearing is just not true. Why wouldn't they want to go, given where they were? They were in really, really bad shape. And They got to be cleaned up, everything treated well and then put in a situation --
"Sean, there are jobs available in Martha's Vineyard. There is lodging available in Martha's Vineyard. Had they lived up to what they bill themselves as, a sanctuary jurisdiction, they could have absorbed those people without a problem.
"But here's the thing. They said they didn't have housing. They said they couldn't accommodate -- like, let's just say that's true for a minute. What does that mean for these poor towns in Texas? What does it mean for these poor towns across the country that are seeing influx? What does it mean to these small towns that Biden has dumped so many people in?
"And so I think what we've been able to do is show that this border is a disaster. Biden has failed on this as much or more than on any other policy. And now people are talking about it. And we want solutions as Americans. We want to make sure that Trump's policies of 'remain in Mexico' can be reinstituted so we can get control over what's going on down there."
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says it encountered 203,597 people crossing into the United States at the southwest border in August alone.
That compares with 200,195 in July and 207,986 in June, but it is below the monthly record of 241,166 set in May. As the end of fiscal 2022 looms on Sept. 30, illegal immigration is already smashing records -- more than two million encounters at the southwest border to date. (See chart below)
DeSantis on Monday noted the irony of 50 Venezuelans finally putting the immigration crisis front and center.
"Millions of people since Biden's been president illegally coming across the southern border," DeSantis said:
"Did they freak out about that? No. You've had migrants die in the Rio Grande and 50 die in Texas in a trailer because they were being neglected. Was there a freak-out about that? No there wasn't.
"You've had criminal aliens get across that southern border and victimize Americans, killing some, raping some. Was there any type of outrage about that? No. And then of course, we know fentanyl deaths are at an all-time high. Where's that fentanyl coming from? It's coming over the open southern border.
“It's only when 50 get put into Martha's Vineyard, which wasn't saying they didn't want this. They said they wanted this. They said they were a sanctuary jurisdiction.
"These are people who were basically destitute and then put in a situation where they could have succeeded, but that was all virtue signaling. And not only did they not welcome them. They deported them the next day with the National Guard -- give me a break!"
DeSantis noted that Democrats have accused the governors of Arizona, Texas and Florida of "political stunts," but he said the biggest stunt was Joe Biden reversing President Trump's immigration policies, Biden knowing full well what would happen.
DeSantis said immigration is now a "front-burner issue," and one where Republicans have the advantage. "So run on it, and then if we do get majorities in the Congress, do something with that power," he said.
This chart shows the monthly and annual illegal immigration totals – the people who were detained between ports of entry. There is no way to calculate how many illegal aliens evaded detection.