- A Texas sheriff is opening a criminal investigation into the transport of immigrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard.
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chartered two planes to transport about 50 migrants.
- The sheriff said the migrants were “lured” by “promises of a better life”.
A Texas sheriff said he is opening a criminal investigation into the transport of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, saying they were “lured” by “promises of a better life.”
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, Democrat, Announcing the investigation at a press conference on Monday, and said he had received the names of “stakeholders” in the case.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is running for re-election and considered a potential contender for the presidency in 2024, chartered two planes last week to transfer about 50 people. Migrants flew from San Antonio, Texas, to Massachusetts to protest President Joe Biden’s border policies.
The immigrants told NPR they were promised work permits in Boston but ended up on Martha’s Vineyard, and their lawyers on Monday released photos of misleading pamphlets they said they received promising cash and job placement services .
“They were hunted,” Salazar said. “There are people who come from out of state, prey on these people, lure them with the promise of a better life…only to be exploited and tricked into traveling to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard, I believe it’s just to make a point And take a political stance.”
—SheriffSalazar (@sheriffsalazar) September 20, 2022
On Sept. 14, Salazar said a Venezuelan immigrant received a “bird and dog fee” to recruit about 50 immigrants from the area around the San Antonio Immigrant Resource Center in Bexar County. They were “lured under false pretenses” to stay in a hotel for a few days before flying to Florida and then eventually to Martha’s Vineyard for a “photograph” before they “unceremoniously stranded”.
“They were promised to work, they were promised to solve several of their problems,” he said.
Salazar said what the case “infuriated” him was that these people are already in a tough time and they have every right to stay where they are, he said. The migrants made their own claims to U.S. authorities and are seeking asylum, according to the Miami Herald.
At this point, he couldn’t say what regulations were violated, “but what I can tell you is that it was wrong. From a human rights perspective, what was done to these people was wrong,” he said. He did not mention DeSantis by name.
Salazar said he has yet to hear from the White House on the case, but he welcomes their help “because, to be honest, there needs to be some coordination.”
There is a “high probability” that the law was violated in his county, and he said “there may be some similar laws being violated on the federal side.”
In response to the investigation, DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske tweeted: “Immigrants are more willing to leave Bexar County after being lured to cross the border and ‘follow it’. As expected, Florida offers a sanctuary with resources for the state’s Chances – this is not the same as the 53 people who died in an abandoned truck in Bexar County in June.”
— Tarynfenske (@tarynfenske) September 19, 2022