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Migrants delivered to Martha’s Vineyard promised cash and job help

A few of the Venezuelan migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis received misleading brochures promising “around 8 months of cash assistance,” employment services and housing assistance, their lawyers tell Axios.

What’s happening: Lawyers for Civil Rights shared a brochure, titled “Massachusetts Refugee Benefits,” on Monday they say migrants received “at some time throughout their expulsion and relocation from Texas and Florida” the other day.

  • The brochure lists support available under “the Match Grant Program.” Axios discovered that language in the leaflet mimics Massachusetts’ description of the Matching Grant Program, by which the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement partners with local agencies in 43 states to resettle refugees.
  • An immigration attorney told independent journalist Judd Legum that benefits described in the brochure can be found to refugees that are referred by the US High Commissioner for Refugees and authorized to call home in the U.S. however, not to these migrants, that are still seeking asylum.

What they’re saying: Oren Sellstrom, litigation director for Lawyers for Civil Rights, told Axios he doesn’t know who made or distributed the brochure, but his organization is among several which have asked for a criminal investigation.

  • Sellstrom added that this action may potentially result in charges against DeSantis, who has taken responsibility for transporting the migrants and promised “much more.”
  • “Ron DeSantis has publicly taken credit because of this conduct. Therefore the criminal liability may extend to the highest level, certainly,” Sellstrom said.

The most recent: The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas announced a criminal investigation Monday in to the transportation of migrants from the county, which include San Antonio, to Martha’s Vineyard, where in fact the office says these were “ultimately left to fend for themselves.”

DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, told Axios that “immigrants have already been willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless and ‘left to fend for themselves.'”

  • “Florida gave them a chance to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, once we expected,” Fenske added.
  • “Unless the MA national guard has abandoned they, they are provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing and much more options to achieve success following their unfair enticement in to the USA, unlike the 53 immigrants who died in a truck found abandoned in Bexar County this June.”

Between your lines: Politico reports that the legality of DeSantis’ maneuver “falls right into a major gray area.”

  • “There’s absolutely the chance of both civil and criminal liability if individuals were lied to about where these were going, what these were likely to get if they got there,” Susan Church, an immigration lawyer located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, told Politico.

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