Martha’s Vineyard Migrants File Lawsuit Against DeSantis
(TargetLiberty.org) In the spring of 2022, the Florida legislature allocated $12 million in funding for a migrant relocation program. Governor Ron DeSantis (R) has long criticized President Joe Biden for his failed border policies. He made it clear that he intended to ship migrants to sanctuary states and cities like Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) is doing.
On September 14, DeSantis put his plan into motion. The governor chartered a private flight from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. About 50 mostly-Venezuelan migrants landed on the tiny island. In the days after, many of them spoke out and claimed they were misled. Now, a group of them is suing the Florida governor.
On September 19, several migrants who were flown to Martha’s Vineyard filed a class-action lawsuit in the US District Court in the District of Massachusetts. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiffs are migrants from Venezuela who turned themselves over to Border Patrol when they entered the US and applied for asylum. The suit claims that the governor and others in his administration “executed a premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme” that exploited those on the plane.
The lawyers of the plaintiffs claim people acting on behalf of DeSantis offered the migrants $10 McDonald’s gift cards, accusing the officials of “exploiting their most basic need” because the immigrants were “suffering from chronic food insecurity.” The migrants were allegedly told they were going to Washington, DC, or Boston.
The suit alleges the governor interfered with the federal government’s “exclusive control over immigration” and violated the law as well as the migrants’ constitutional rights.
The lawsuit comes as Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, which includes San Antonio, opens an investigation into DeSantis’ actions.
In a statement to Fox News, DeSantis’ spokeswoman Taryn Fenske attacked the lawsuit, calling it “political theater” that “opportunistic activists” have perpetrated. He said if those who are involved in the suit “spent even a fraction of this time and effort at the border” then there could be some action taken against Biden for his “reckless border policies.”
The spokesperson went on to say Biden’s policies have enticed undocumented migrants to “make dangerous and often lethal” trips to the US.
DeSantis has maintained the migrants were told where they were headed and voluntarily agreed to board the planes. Fenske provided copies of the consent form that each person signed. The document was in both English and Spanish. It did not state the specific destination, only that they were being sent to Massachusetts.
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