A group of Venezuelan immigrants filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Florida officialsclaiming they were lured onto the plane through gifts and false invitations to work and services.
Three Venezuelan immigrants, represented by Massachusetts civil rights attorneys, have accused DeSantis of violating multiple federal laws and the U.S. Constitution, asking a federal district court in Boston to bar Florida from “inducing immigrants to travel interstate through fraud and misrepresentation.”
Venezuelan asylum seekers are also asking the court to award them and dozens of other migrants who flew to Martha’s Vineyard last week for monetary damages they say they suffered as a result of being transported to Massachusetts.
The class-action lawsuit, which aims to cover about 50 immigrants who were brought to Martha’s Vineyard, says an unidentified individual won Germany by offering immigrants McDonald’s gift cards, free hotel rooms and helping them get to their destination. Immigrant Trust in Texas. Jobs, housing and other services will be found.
The lawsuits allege the immigrant, who calls himself “Pella,” “trolled” the streets outside an immigrant shelter in San Antonio to identify and befriend Venezuelan asylum seekers who have been released by the federal government and allowed to seek shelter. Officers at the southern border.
After gaining the trust of dozens of immigrants, “Perla” housed them in hotel rooms for a few days before transporting them to the airport, where they boarded the boat that eventually took them to Martha’s Vineyard, the lawsuit said. flight.
But immigrants were told they were taken to Washington, D.C. or Boston, the lawsuit said. The immigrants also obtained folders, including brochures about services provided to refugees in Massachusetts, even though the immigrants were not resettled through the U.S. Refugee Program, the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit said the migrants were not told their final destination was Martha’s Vineyard until after the plane took off.
After landing in Massachusetts, the immigrants were shocked. Some of them tried to call and text “Perla” but received no response, the lawsuit said. An immigrant, known as Jesus Doe, sent a voice message to “Perla” saying “one question, what agency should we be looking for? We arrived and no one said anything.”
A Venezuelan mother traveling with her husband and 11-year-old child said she “felt helpless, cheated and hopeless” after arriving on Martha’s Vineyard. The mother, known in the lawsuit as Yanet Doe, said she started crying.
The lawsuit, filed by a Boston-based group of civil rights lawyers, said the immigrants had “experienced a cruelty similar to the one they fled” in Venezuela, where millions of citizens have fled the government in recent years due to economic collapse and repression.
“Defendants manipulated them to rob them of their dignity, to deny them liberty, bodily autonomy, due process and equal protection of the law, and to unlawfully interfere with the federal government’s exclusive control of immigration to achieve unlawful goals and personal political agendas,” the lawyers said. wrote.
The decision to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard has local and state authorities scrambling to find shelter, food and other shelter for the unexpected arrivals, drawing scathing from advocates of asylum seekers, the Biden administration and Democratic officials Critic, who denounced it as a dehumanizing political scene.
On Monday, the sheriff of Bexar County, Texas, said his office hadFlorida’s transportation strategy, which refers to affected migrants as victims lured onto planes. Advocates and some Democrats have called for a similar investigation by the Justice Department.
But DeSantis defended his actions, echoing the sentiments of other Republican governors who have said Democratic-led cities and states should have been taking in immigrants because their jurisdictions have declared themselves to be Shelter for immigrants living in the United States without legal status.
Representatives for DeSantis did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations in Tuesday’s lawsuit. For several days, they did not answer several questions about information provided to migrants who were transported to Martha’s Vineyard.
Like DeSantis, the Republican governors of Texas and Arizona haveFrom the U.S.-Mexico border to Democrat-controlled cities. Since April, Texas has transported more than 11,000 migrants to Washington, D.C.; New York; and Chicago.Meanwhile, Arizona has sent more than 1,800 immigrants to Washington, D.C.
Fifty Venezuelan migrants who flew to Martha’s Vineyard last week were transported to Joint Base Cape Cod, where they received shelter, legal counsel and other services from Massachusetts officials.