Sen. Marco Rubio offers thoughts on migrant plane to Martha's Vineyard as debate continues

'The bigger problem here is that every single day thousands of people enter the country illegally,' Rubio says
Sen. Marco Rubio speaks on Riviera Beach on Sept. 16, 2022 about the migrant flight to Martha's Vineyard
Posted at 6:39 PM, Sep 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-16 22:12:12-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla.  — The flight of 50 migrants sent by Florida's governor to Martha's Vineyard continued to stir strong reactions from Venezuelan Americans in South Florida on Friday.

"He's hurting people who are scared, running away from the communist system," Karym Salcido of Lake Worth Beach said, referring to the governor.

Salcido is a Venezuelan American who is upset over the Venezuelan migrants that were moved from Texas to Florida and then to Martha's Vineyard.

RELATED: Palm Beach County residents offer differing opinions on migrant flights to Martha's Vineyard

Critics have called Gov. Ron DeSantis' action a political stunt.

Karym Salcido, Venezuelan immigrant
Karym Salcido, an immigrant from Venezuela, is among those decrying the action of Gov. Ron DeSantis to send a plane full of migrants to Martha's Vineyard.

Salcido said Venezuela is now sinking deeper into an economic and political crisis where critics of the government there are being jailed.

"I know my people are running away from a dictatorship," Salcido said. "My people are running away from a humanitarian crisis and it's really sad that people running away from this situation are being treated like political pawns."

RELATED: 'More and more' migrants will be relocated away from Sunshine State, DeSantis says

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was in Riviera Beach on Friday where he visited a local car restoration business and said he didn't have enough details from the governor about the situation.

Immigrants flown from Florida to Martha's Vineyard, Sept. 14, 2022
Immigrants gather with their belongings outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday flew two planes of immigrants to Martha's Vineyard, escalating a tactic by Republican governors to draw attention to what they consider to be the Biden administration's failed border policies.

"I don't know the details of what he did. I haven't heard from his office about the mechanics of it, so I can't speak about what you're asking about, the legalities and details of it," Rubio said.

He later spoke about the broader issue of immigration.

"People want to freak out about Martha's Vineyard, whatever, but I'm telling you that the bigger problem here is not that 50 people were sent to Martha's Vineyard," Rubio said. "The bigger problem here is that every single day thousands of people enter the country illegally."

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., a candidate for U.S. Senate who is challenging Rubio for his seat in November's election, issued the following statement Friday:

"Venezuelans fleeing Nicolás Maduro’s socialist dictatorship deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. It's shameful that Marco Rubio would endorse the political games being played with refugees seeking the American Dream."