Migrants Who Were Flown to Martha’s Vineyard Sue Florida Governor

Migrants have flying from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida and other state officials who operate flights to Massachusetts, saying they engaged in a “fraud and distribution scheme.” discrimination.”

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, says Florida officials lured migrants onto two planes from Texas by falsely promising “opportunities to work , children’s schooling and immigration assistance” upon their arrival. at their destination.

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, an organization that provides legal assistance to migrants, said in a statement that “humanity should not be used as a political pawn in the the nation’s highly polarized debate on immigration”.

Taryn Fenske, a spokesman for Mr DeSantis, a Republican, said in a statement that the complaint was “political theater”.

“The transportation of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard is done on a voluntary basis,” Ms. Fenske said. “The immigrants were homeless, starving and abandoned – and these activists didn’t care about them then.”

The migrants are seeking unspecified damages from their lawsuit, in which Jared Perdue, secretary of Florida’s Department of Transportation, is the defendant. They are also seeking to stem the movement of migrants across states “by fraud and misrepresentation”.

The lawsuit comes less than a week after a plane carrying about 50 Venezuelan migrants made an unexpected arrival at Martha’s Vineyard, where residents and volunteers scrambled to get food, clothing and shelter for them. when summer resorts full of money become an unlikely arena in the fight against illegal immigration.

Mr. DeSantis’ office took responsibility for the next day’s flights. The complaint states that Florida spent about $615,000 leasing the planes.

The episode marks the latest escalation from Republican officials who have been transporting buses carrying migrants to liberal bases like Washington and New York to signal their opposition to the rise in illegal immigration under President Biden. Over two million undocumented immigrants were arrested along the southern border this financial year, a record, according to Customs and Border Protection data released Monday.

Many of the migrants who have applied for asylum and worked in the United States in recent months are fleeing Venezuela, which has been plunged into political and economic turmoil.

In MondayThe county sheriff in San Antonio, has opened a criminal investigation into the activity, but he did not specify what laws may have been violated.

Oren Sellstrom, director of litigation at Lawyers for Civil Rights, said Tuesday that “perpetrators who reached our clients in Texas have earned their trust by providing individuals who are in a state of desperation for the necessities of life”.

When they finally got to Martha’s Vineyard, he said, “those people were gone and it was clearly a political stunt.”

Migrants have said in interviews that a well-dressed San Antonio woman who introduced herself as Perla offered to take them to a “reserve” in Massachusetts. But Mr Sellstrom said at least four people were “misrepresented”.

The complaint says the migrants were given a “shiny, red packet” which contained a brochure titled “Massachusetts Refugee Rights” and other “official documents” other” created by Florida officials.

Before the flight, the complaint states, the migrants were told they were going to either Boston or Washington, DC.

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