Lawyers for Civil Rights, a nonprofit immigrant advocacy group About 30 of the 50 settlers flew to Martha’s VineyardAlianza filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of Americas and other immigrants, A Press release From the system.
Two planes carrying nearly 50 migrants — mostly from Venezuela — arrived in Martha’s Vineyard from Texas last Wednesday night. Organized by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. was part of the action A series of efforts by Republican governors to move migrants to liberal cities to protest what they described as the federal government’s failure to secure the southern border.
The lawsuit was filed against DeSantis, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, the state of Florida and the state Department of Transportation, according to the release and lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges, in part, that the defendants defrauded vulnerable immigrants to present a political motive for chartering two planes carrying immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
“No man should be used as a political pawn in the nation’s most polarized debate on immigration,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights.
The suit alleges that a woman gathered dozens of immigrants to “sign a document to receive a $10 McDonald’s gift card” and did not explain what the document said, and that it was not fully translated into Spanish: the entire passage about liability and transportation was not translated, and from Texas to Massachusetts. The language indicating that the journey will be undertaken is also not translated.
One of the plaintiffs in the case was told by unidentified people “when they first met that by leaving Texas, he would be offered permanent housing, stable employment and help with his immigration process,” according to court documents.
Oscar Sacon, executive director of Allianz Americas, called DeSantis’ flights to Martha’s Vineyard “morally repugnant.” Alianza Americas is a network of immigrant-led organizations that support immigrants across the United States.
“That is why we have taken action to legally challenge what we believe to be morally reprehensible, but what we believe to be illegal,” Saccone said in a statement. “We want to do everything we can to prevent more abuses against newly arrived immigrants, especially asylum seekers and their loved ones in their home countries, who deserve recognition for the tremendous contributions they make to America in terms of support, protection, and protection.”
In response to the lawsuit, DeSantis’ office repeated what it had previously said: the transport of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard “was done on a voluntary basis.”
“Immigrants were homeless, hungry, abandoned – these activists didn’t care about them then. Florida’s program gave them a fresh start in a sanctuary state, and these individuals chose to take advantage of charter flights to Massachusetts,” the report said.
DeSantis’ office released a copy of their “Official Consent to Transport” form, which includes a redacted signature of someone they believe is the immigrant who agreed to fly to Martha’s Vineyard.
Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters Monday evening that his agency will begin an investigation into the transportation of 48 Venezuelan immigrants from the state to Martha’s Vineyard.
Salazar, a Democrat, said Monday that it was his understanding that a Venezuelan immigrant was paid last Wednesday to recruit 50 immigrants from a resource center in San Antonio, a Bexar County seat. As such, Salazar said he believes laws were broken not only locally, but federally as well.
The immigrants were transported to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard under “false pretenses.”
The sheriff said they were “taken to Martha’s Vineyard for a photo shoot and got stranded.” He believes the migrants were “exploited and tricked” into making the journey for political posturing. The sheriff is speaking with an attorney representing some of the immigrants for the first accounts of what happened, Salazar told reporters.
He said the allegations he had heard so far were “disgusting and a violation of human rights”. Salazar said he believes there should be accountability for what happened.
DeSantis, who took credit for organizing the migrant flight, told Fox News Monday night that the migrants were not misled.
“They all signed consent forms to go, and then the salesperson who was doing this for Florida gave them a packet with a map of Martha’s Vineyard, which had numbers for various services on Martha’s Vineyard,” DeSantis said.
“Why wouldn’t they want to see where they were? They were in really bad shape and they needed to be cleaned up, everything, treated well,” he said.
The Florida Department of Transportation paid $1.565 million to Destin-based airline Verdol Systems as part of a state program to relocate immigrants, according to state budget records.
Budget records show that $615,000 was paid on Sept. 8 and $950,000 was requested by the state on Sept. 16.
Budget records don’t detail what kind of “contracted services” were provided to the Verdol department, and it’s unclear whether the two charges were for two flights to Martha’s Vineyard, which were operated by a separate private jet company called Ultimate Jet Charters in Ohio.
Reports and flight plans suggested that a plane was chartered to take the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. To bring a group of immigrants to Delawareprompting state officials and volunteers to make preparations on Tuesday.
The productions came after flight tracking sites overnight showed a flight plan filed with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Commercial Planning Commission involved one of the Ultimate Jet charter planes used on the Martha’s Vineyard flights and similar to the plane. The sites listed a route from Kelly Field in San Antonio to Georgetown, Delaware, with a brief stop in Crestview, Florida.
Sheriff Salazar in Texas said Wednesday he was told to expect another flight on Tuesday, but plans were changed.
“We received word this morning that a flight would arrive in San Antonio and depart for Delaware with migrants,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday. “My understanding is that at the last minute, we got word that the flight was delayed.”
Salazar said no reason was given for the flight’s delay.
Jill Fredel, spokeswoman for the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services, said at a news conference Tuesday that there were no reports of any immigrants arriving at this time. He said the governor’s office had not received any information from Florida or Texas, but noted the state was making arrangements just in case.
Gov. John Carney’s office also heard about the reports and officials are working to prepare in case the immigrants arrive unannounced, said Emily David Hershman, the governor’s spokeswoman.
“We are coordinating with federal authorities and are ready to receive these families in an orderly manner as they continue to seek asylum,” he said.
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