(CNN) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed a bill expanding a controversial state program to transport migrants.
"Florida is using all tools available to protect our citizens from Biden's open border policies," DeSantis wrote on Twitter. "I am glad to have signed legislation to continue the program of transporting illegal aliens to sanctuary jurisdictions. I thank the legislature for maintaining this valuable tool."
The measure allows the DeSantis administration to pick up where the governor left off last year when he sent two planes of migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. The action sparked multiple lawsuits and questions as to whether the DeSantis administration had violated state law by rounding up migrants in Texas. The budget law that created the $12 million program specified that the money was set aside to relocate "unauthorized aliens from this state."
Lawmakers voted last week along party lines to remove the restriction on the location of the migrants. The measure approved by the Republican-controlled legislature also shifted control of the program from the Florida Department of Transportation to the Florida Department of Emergency Management, a move that would allow the DeSantis administration to award millions of dollars in no-bid contracts to facilitate the transportation of migrants.
The bill took effect immediately after DeSantis' signing. Under the legislation, $10 million is set aside to fund the program through June. DeSantis in his proposed budget allocated another $12 million to continue the program.
This story is breaking and will be updated.
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