© 2024 Central Florida Public Media. All Rights Reserved.
90.7 FM Orlando • 89.5 FM Ocala
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Politifact FL: Migrants were not secretly flown to Florida with taxpayer money

FILE - An American Airlines Boeing 777 is framed by utility wires as it prepares to land at Miami International Airport, Wednesday
Wilfredo Lee
FILE - An American Airlines Boeing 777 is framed by utility wires as it prepares to land at Miami International Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Miami. An American Airlines flight landed safely in Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 13, 2024, after the flight crew reported a potential mechanical issue with the plane.

WLRN has partnered with PolitiFact to fact-check Florida politicians. The Pulitzer Prize-winning team seeks to present the true facts, unaffected by agenda or biases.

A parole program for migrants from Latin American countries has been the target of misinformation online, with social media users claiming that taxpayers fund it.

The @NashvilleTeaParty Instagram account, which has 77,000 followers and links to the same-named conservative group’s website, posted a graphic about the program and captioned it, "YOUR taxpayer dollars at work!"

The post’s image includes a map from Fox News that says 326,000 migrants were flown to Florida and thousands more to other U.S. cities, attributing the figures to the Center for Immigration Studies, a think tank advocating for reduced immigration.

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The map image aired April 2 on "Fox & Friends First."

But these flights were not paid for by taxpayers. Nor are they secret, as the Instagram post also alleges.

READ MORE: Haitians, Cubans, Venezuelans and Nicaraguans head to Florida under Biden immigration plan

The migrants who flew to the U.S. did so as part of a parole program for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans that is meant to reduce the number of migrants crossing the southern U.S. border. The U.S. grantsparole based on "significant public benefit or urgent humanitarian reasons."

People coming through the program are lawfully entering the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security publicly introduced the program in October 2022, initially for 24,000 Venezuelans.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Jan. 6, 2023 extended the program to admit 30,000 migrants from Cuba, Haiti and Nicaragua each month. Under the program, applicants who meet qualifications, including having a U.S.-based sponsor who will support them financially and passing a background check, can request an "advanced authorization to travel and a temporary period of parole for up to two years for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit," according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The agency also says that migrants in the program must pay for their own air travel to the United States. PolitiFact previously rated False a social media claim that "300,000 illegal immigrants were able to use a simple app to get a free flight to our country."

An April 1 report by the Center for Immigration Studies, which opposes this Biden administration program, said 326,000 migrants arrived in Florida through the parole program since October 2022.

But the report does not say taxpayers paid for those flights. A March 7 article by the center says that taxpayers did not.

The center’s April 1 report also said that although 326,000 migrants in the parole program landed in Miami, Florida might not have been their final destination. Miami International Airport is a large transit hub, particularly for flights between the United States and Latin America.

We rate the claim that 326,000 migrants were secretly flown to Florida with taxpayer money False.

Our Sources