Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ migrant relocation program planned to transport “approximately 100 or more” migrants to Delaware and Illinois between Sept. 19 and Oct. 3, according to documents obtained by CNN through a public records request.
The documents are memos sent by Florida Department of Transportation procurement administrator James Montgomerie to the CEO of Vertol Systems Company Inc., the company Florida hired to organize transportation for the migrants.
The memorandum explicitly states that Vertol Systems would provide migrant transport services, “from Florida.”
Two “projects” were planned, according to a September 15 release. “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 Sept. 16 combined the projects into one and estimated their cost at $950,000.
The release also said the migrants could be transported “to a nearby northeastern state designated by FDOT based on current conditions.”
CNN reached out to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker for comment, but did not immediately receive a response. A spokesman for Delaware Gov. John Carney said he had no comment.
Vertol Systems was paid $1.6 million by the state of Florida, including a $950,000 down payment.
The flights to Delaware and Illinois never happened. However, flight plans submitted to the FAA indicated that a second set of flights from San Antonio to Delaware was planned.
A third note, dated October 8, indicates that Vertol extended the project dates to December 1, meaning that flights could still take place.
On September 14, two planes took 48 migrants from San Antonio, Texas and transported them to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Flights paid for by the state of Florida were temporarily stopped in Crestview, Florida and in the Carolinas for refueling.
DeSantis has tried to deflect criticism of the flights, saying it was necessary to stop the flow of migrants at their source before they come to Florida.
“If you do it at the source and divert it to sanctuary jurisdictions, the chance of it ending up in Florida is much lower,” DeSantis told reporters in September.