Groups of Venezuelan migrants wait outside the Migrant Resource Center to receive food from the San Antonio Catholic Charities on September 19, 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.
Jordan Vonderhaar | Getty Images News | beautiful pictures
A Texas sheriff said Monday that his office has opened a criminal investigation into the unprecedented move of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to bring nearly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, last week.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said the investigation was in the early stages and he declined to name possible suspects. But at a press conference, he said: “Everybody on this call knows who those names are.”
Salazar said it was unclear if any laws were violated, but he said 48 migrants appeared to have been “falsified” into staying at a hotel for several days before they were flown to Florida and Martha’s Vineyard.
“They were promised work,” he said. “They were promised solutions to some of their problems.”
He said one employer was paid a “birdkeeping fee” to gather about 50 people around a migration resource center in San Antonio.
Asylum seekers, most of them Venezuelans, were then taken to the luxury island of Massachusetts “just to take pictures or video, and they were randomly stranded on Martha’s Vineyard”, Salazar said. speak.
Salazar said his office’s organized crime investigators would handle the investigation.
Immigration advocates and lawyers call for a criminal investigation into DeSantis’ attempt to move migrants under a $12 million program to resettle “left-wing aliens”. permission” to what his administration has described as a “sanctuary” jurisdiction.
The governor’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday night. His administration has previously denied breaking any laws with the program, and at a news conference on Friday, DeSantis said he would “spend every penny” possible on it.
The League of United Latin American Citizens, or LULAC, has offered a reward of $5,000 for information that leads to the identification of who has deceived migrants. “Wanted” posters were posted all over San Antonio.
“It was one of the most ruthless political stunts I’ve ever seen in my life,” said LULAC President Domingo García.
García said LULAC spoke to several asylum seekers who said a woman named “Perla” told them they were going to Boston and promised three months of work and free housing.
García, who spoke to about a dozen migrants in Martha’s Vineyard last week, said Monday that “Perla” had given them a map with an “X”, marking an asylum centre, the last place becomes an empty parking lot.
Attorneys representing 30 of the 48 migrants have asked the Massachusetts attorney general and the federal government to open criminal investigations. They say their customers “were lured onto planes and crossed state routes under false pretenses.”
Immigration advocates, as well as Democrats and the Biden administration, say migrant transportation is dehumanizing and they accuse Republicans of using people for political stunts when Crime investigations are on the rise.
Representative Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, tweeted “The Department of Justice needs to investigate Governor DeSantis for using fraud and deception to lure out-of-states into abandoning them without fulfilling his vain promises. So does Greg Abbott. They engaged in human trafficking.”
Since April, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a Republican, has been sending migrants released from federal immigration surveillance to Washington, DC, New York City and Chicago. He accused President Joe Biden of being too loose on immigration. A month later, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Republican, also began transporting migrants to Washington, D.C.
DeSantis sent two planes carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday.
The Florida Immigrant Coalition, a statewide coalition of more than 65 organizations, is investigating whether federal funds were misused when DeSantis brought migrants to Martha’s Vineyard and whether there was room to sue or not.
Co-CEO Tessa Petit said: “We are disgusted. “We’re doing everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Many of the migrants are asylum seekers who have fled socialist countries, such as Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, where daily life has become difficult under authoritarian regimes.