Lawyers representing migrantsby Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are calling for criminal investigations into what they described as a “political stunt.”
Lawyers for Civil Rights — a group that represents about 30 migrants – has sent letters to US Attorney Rachael Rollins and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey asking them for the probes after two chartered planes carrying 50 migrants were flown last week from Texas and through Florida to the posh liberal enclave.
The attorneys told the prosecutors that they “strongly believe” criminal laws were broken.
“Our clients were induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretenses,” LCR executive director Ivan Spinoza-Madrigal and litigation director Oren Sellstrom wrote in the letters,.
“Individuals, working in concert with the Florida governor, made numerous false promises to our clients, including of work opportunities, schooling for their children and immigration assistance, in order to induce them to travel,” they added.
DeSantis has said Florida paid for the two flights under his so-called immigration relocation program in an effort to “insulate” the Sunshine State from the impacts of the federal government’s immigration policies.
The lawyers wrote that the migrants were only informed en route that they were being flown to Martha’s Vineyard and not Boston as they were told prior to boarding the flights.
They told the prosecutors that when the migrants landed on Martha’s Vineyard, those who convinced them to board the planes “disappeared” — and that their clients realized that the offers of assistance were untrue.
“This conduct deprived our clients of their liberty by deception. It interfered with their ability to comply with federal immigration obligations, such as attendance at hearings and check-ins. The perpetrators targeted our clients based on race and national origin in order to make the political point they wanted,” they wrote.
“They preyed on the vulnerability of our clients — many of whom had suffered deep trauma in their home countries and on their journeys to the United States — and exploited this vulnerability to win trust through false promises,” the lawyers added.
Martha’s Vineyard has long been a favored vacation spot for left-leaning celebrities and Democratic pols including former President Barack Obama, who owns an $11.75 million estate there, where hewith a blow-out party last year.
But former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that “I doubt they’ll embrace” the migrants on Martha’s Vineyard.
“You know, these are all sanctuary cities until they’re in their sanctuary,” he said Wednesday night on “Jesse Watters Primetime.”
On Sunday, Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that GOP governors in Texas and Florida are trying to send a message about the nation’sby sending migrants to Democratic enclaves like New York, Washington and Martha’s Vineyard.
“They’re doing their best to try to send a message to the rest of the nation about the plight of those individuals that are coming from south of the border,” Rounds said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has been shipping busloads of migrants toChicago and even official residence at the Naval Observatory in the nation’s capital.
DeSantis’ office told UPI in a statement that the relocation program aims to interdict human smugglers, traffickers and other criminals as well as prevent irregular immigration in Florida.
The GOP governor has said he has $12 million for this relocation plan, with state records indicating Florida paid $615,000 to charter the flights to Martha’s Vineyard.
Massachusetts state Rep. Dylan Fernandes told UPI in a statement that Rollins informed him that she is “pushing” for a response from the Department of Justice on opening an investigation.
Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom “strongly urged” Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate if kidnapping and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act charges could be applied, according to UPI.