DeSantis Responds to California Threatening Him With ‘Kidnapping Charges’

June 8, 2023

Florida governor Ron DeSantis (R.) shot back after California governor Gavin Newsom (D.) threatened him with "kidnapping charges" over his state's decision to fly migrants from the southern border to Sacramento.

"These sanctuary jurisdictions are part of the reason we have this problem, because they have endorsed and agitated for these types of open-border policies," DeSantis said at a Wednesday event in Arizona, referring to the "sanctuary" status Newsom and other Democrats promise for migrants. "They have bragged that they are sanctuary jurisdictions."

The DeSantis administration sent a private jet to Sacramento on Saturday from New Mexico with 16 illegal migrants from Venezuela and Colombia onboard. A second flight arrived Monday with around 20 more migrants. The migrants came from Texas near El Paso and were first sent to New Mexico before flying to California.

DeSantis, who is seeking the Republican nomination for president, argued that the politicians who encourage migrants to come into the country should bear the responsibility for their care.

"They attacked the previous administration's efforts to try to have border security," DeSantis said. "And so that's the policies they're staking out. And then what? When they have to deal with some of the fruits of that, they all of a sudden become very, very upset about that."

After the migrant flights arrived in California, Newsom suggested DeSantis should face kidnapping charges.

"@RonDeSantis you small, pathetic man," Newsom tweeted on Monday. "This isn't Martha's Vineyard. Kidnapping charges?"

Newsom posted a California law that spells out the potential charge Newsom could leverage. "Every person, who being out of this state, abducts or takes by force or fraud any person contrary to the law of the place where that act is committed, and brings, sends, or conveys that person within the limits of this state ... is guilty of kidnapping," the law reads.

Newsom has advertised many times that his state welcomes migrants. "Let me be clear, @realDonaldTrump: California is a sanctuary state," he tweeted in 2018. "We believe in the power of diversity. We have defied and resisted the xenophobic, hateful policies of your administration at every turn. We will do it again."

DeSantis has sent migrants to Democratic "sanctuary" states and cities several times. He famously sent migrants to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, who were then quickly turned away by the majority-liberal island.