DeSantis Slams Biden For Charging Americans Evacuees From Israel While Paying To Fly Illegal Immigrants

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida criticized President Joe Biden during a speech Friday for charging Americans for their evacuation of Israel while his administration pays to transport illegal immigrants across the United States.

DeSantis’s speech, delivered at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. as part of its Mandate for Leadership Series, attacked the Biden administration for charging U.S. citizens the cost of government-provided travel to evacuate Israel following its declaration of war against Hamas, suggesting that it “wasn’t right.” He contrasted that action with his administration’s efforts to evacuate Florida citizens from Israel, which has been provided free of cost.

“The State Department and the embassy, they weren’t doing what needed to be done to get Americans back home. Eventually, they said they’ll dump you in Greece and then charge you for that. And I thought to myself, you know, if you come into this country illegally, they don’t charge you to fly you all over the place. They put you in hotels. They don’t charge the illegal alien, but yet Americans fleeing a warzone are somehow gonna get a bill? It isn’t right,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis was referring to the Biden administration’s chartering of a cruise ship on Oct. 16 that ferried some 2,500 U.S. citizens and their eligible family members from Haifa, Israel to Limassol, Cyprus. Evacuees were required to sign a promissory note to reimburse the U.S. government for the cost of each individual transported on the vessel, which has become one of the few ways for U.S. citizens to leave the region amid cancellations of service by many international airlines.

The Biden administration has also chartered flights from Israeli airports for U.S. citizens and their immediate families to leave the region, according to the Department of State. A federal law enacted in 1956 requires American evacuees to reimburse the government for the cost of their evacuation, though waivers have previously been issued by past administrations, according to ABC News.

DeSantis’ administration has also evacuated U.S. citizens from Israel, separate from federal efforts, and vowed not the charge evacuees for the cost of travel.

“More recently, we arranged for the rescue of close to 700 Americans from Israel following the Hamas terrorist attacks,” he said in his remarks.

Amid a surge of illegal immigrants crossing into the United States from Mexico, the Biden administration has relocated them from border regions to other areas of the country, using chartered flights to do so. There is no public record of illegal immigrants transported being charged for their flights, though they likely lack the assets to pay.

DeSantis’ speech also addressed several foreign policy themes, principally concerning the People’s Republic of China.

The threat posed by the CCP requires our primary focus and attention right now. They are the first truly peer competitor that we have dealt with in our lifetimes,” said DeSantis, adding that “it requires a whole-of-society approach.”

DeSantis, a presidential candidate, is currently running behind former President Donald Trump, the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, by a large margin of 46.5 percentage points, according to an average of national polls by RealClearPolitics.

The Departments of State and Homeland Security have been contacted with a request for comment.

Arjun Singh on October 27, 2023

Daily Caller News Foundation

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