According to the release and suit, DeSantis, the Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, filed suit against Florida State and the State Department of Transportation. The suit, in part, said the defendants defrauded vulnerable migrants to advance a political motive by hiring two flights carrying migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
“No human should be used as a political pawn in the country’s highly polarized debate on immigration,” said lawyer Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Civil Rights.
The lawsuit alleges that several dozen immigrants were gathered by a woman “to sign a document to receive a $10 McDonald’s gift card” and that she “did not explain what the document said, And it wasn’t fully translated into Spanish: an entire paragraph about liability and transportation wasn’t translated at all, and the language specifying travel from Texas to Massachusetts wasn’t translated at all. “
According to court documents, one of the plaintiffs in the case was told by unidentified persons that “when they first met that leaving Texas, they would be provided with permanent housing, stable employment, and help with their immigration process.”
Oscar Chakun, executive director of Alianza Americas, called DeSantis’ flights to Martha’s Vineyard “morally despicable.” Allianza America is a network of migrant-led organizations that supports immigrants across the United States.
“That’s why we have taken steps to legally challenge what we see as not only a morally reprehensible action, but what we believe is also illegal,” Chakun said in a statement. “We want to do everything we can to prevent further abuse against newly arrived immigrants, especially asylum seekers, who deserve support, protection and their loved ones in the US as well as in their home countries. Recognized for incredible contributions.”
In response to the lawsuit, DeSantis’s office reiterated what it had previously said: Transportation of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard was done “on a voluntary basis.”
“Immigrants were homeless, hungry and abandoned – and these workers did not care for them then. Florida’s program gave them a fresh start in a sanctuary state and these individuals opted to take advantage of chartered flights to Massachusetts,” the statement Reading.
DeSantis’ office also released a copy of what’s referred to as the “Official Consent for Transportation” form, which includes an amended signature of someone they consider an expatriate to consent to their flight to Martha’s Vineyard. Huh.
Texas sheriff to launch investigation into Martha’s Vineyard incident
Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters Monday evening that his agency would investigate the transportation of 48 Venezuelan migrants from the state to Martha’s Vineyard.
Salazar, a Democrat, said on Monday that it was his understanding that last Wednesday a Venezuelan migrant was paid to recruit 50 migrants from a resource center in San Antonio, the seat of Bexar County. As such, Salazar said he believed laws were broken not only in the county but also on the federal side.
He said the migrants were sent under “false pretense” to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard.
The sheriff said he was sent to Martha’s Vineyard for “a photo-op and stranded”. He believes the migrants were “exploited and tricked” into traveling for political posture. Salazar told reporters that the sheriff was talking to a lawyer who represents some of the migrants.
The allegations he has heard so far are “disgusting and human rights violations,” he said. Salazar said he believes there should be accountability for what happened.
DeSantis, who claimed credit for arranging the migrants’ flight, told Fox News on Monday night that the migrants were not misled.
“They all signed a consent form to go and then the salesperson doing it for Florida provided them with a packet that contained a map of Martha’s Vineyard, it has numbers for the various services that are on Martha’s Vineyard,” DeSantis said. .
“Why wouldn’t they want to go where they were? They were in really, really bad condition and had to be cleaned, everything, well behaved,” he said.
According to state budget records, the Florida Department of Transportation paid $1.565 million to Vertol Systems, an airline based in Destin, as part of a state program to relocate migrants.
A payment of $615,000 was made on September 8, and a payment of $950,000 was requested by the state on September 16, budget records show.
Budget records do not provide details of what kind of “contracted services” Vertol provided to the department, nor is it clear whether the two payments were for two flights to Martha’s Vineyard operated by Ultimate Jet Charters. and was operated by a separate private jet company. Ohio.
Delaware prepares for potential migrant arrivals
Preparations were made after overnight flight tracking sites displayed a commercial scheduler and a flight plan filed with the Federal Aviation Administration, which included an eventual jet charter aircraft used on Martha’s Vineyard flights and that flight. was similar. The sites listed a route from Kelly Field in San Antonio to a brief stop in Crestview, Florida, and a route to Georgetown, Delaware.
Texas Sheriff Salazar said Wednesday he expected another flight on Tuesday, but changed plans.
“We had news this morning that a flight was coming to San Antonio and headed to Delaware with a planeload of migrants,” he told CNN’s Alisin Camerota on Tuesday. “My understanding is that at the last minute, we received information that the flight has been postponed.”
Salazar said he was not given the reason for the flight suspension.
Jill Friedel, a spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, said at a news conference Tuesday that she has no reports of any migrants arriving at this time. He said the governor’s office had not received any outreach from Florida or Texas, but added that the state was preparing just in case.
John Carney’s office also heard of the reports and officials were working to prepare for the unannounced arrival of migrants, according to the governor’s spokeswoman, Emily David Hershman.
“We are coordinating with federal officials and stand ready to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims,” she said.
CNN’s Carolyn Sung, Ray Sanchez, Amy Simonson, Paul P. Murphy, Priscilla Alvarez, Steve Contorno, Manu Raju and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.