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Legal, political firestorm ignites as Fla. again lures migrants in Texas onto planes

Florida Governor Protest
Rebecca Blackwell
An image of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is overlaid with the words "Don't attack our democracy," at a rally to denounce the governor's immigration policies, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2022, in Doral, Fla.

This week, a second group of Texas migrants was left scrambling to find resources after allegedly being offered transportation by the Florida government. Asylum seekers at the border who were told they would be flown to Delaware were instead held for days in a San Antonio motel. Then they were told their flight was canceled, the Miami Herald reported on Wednesday.

This followers last week’s potentially illegal stunt that left 50 migrants stranded in Martha’s Vineyard. Governor DeSantis took credit for that flight, although the migrants crossed the border into another state.

Since last week, DeSantis has labored to explain the legal rationale that allows him to move migrants coming into Texas around the country. He has repeatedly suggested the action was valid because Florida is the final destination of many migrants.

This week, the Martha’s Vineyard migrants filed a federal lawsuit against the governor. At the same time, the House of Representatives’ Homeland Security Committee is asking both the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to open investigations into the flights.

We spoke about the migrant flights with Nick Nehamas, Investigative Reporter at the Miami Herald, and Danny Rivero, Reporter/Host of the South Florida Roundup at WLRN.

Also, a new report from free speech advocacy organization PEN America places Florida among the top states for banned books. According to the report, “Banned in the USA, the Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools,” more books are being banned across more school districts in more states.

In Florida, 21 school districts have book bans involving 566 books.

The majority of banned books contain themes or characters involving the LGBTQ community and people of color.

PEN says the move to challenge or remove books from schools has grown into a full-fledged social and political movement. At least 50 groups are behind the push for book bans, and they share lists of books to ban and employ similar tactics – like swarming school board meetings.

The harm from book bans is widespread, according to the report. It affects intellectual freedom, limits the professional autonomy of teachers and librarians and has an impact on the well-being of students affected by the ban.

Our guest: Summer Lopez, Chief Program Officer of Free Expression at PEN America.

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