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Texas sheriff investigating migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard organized by Florida governor

A Texas sheriff announced Monday evening he’s opened a criminal investigation into flights Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) arranged the other day that took some 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Driving the news headlines: DeSantis insists the flights were voluntary. However the Bexar County sheriff’s office said within an emailed statement that it “has opened a study in to the migrants which were lured from the Migrant Resource Center” in the county, where San Antonio is situated.

A tweet by the Bexar County sheriff announcing a criminal investigation into the Florida governor organizing migrant flights to Mass. via San Antonio.
Photo: Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar/Twitter
  • These were then flown to Florida, “where these were ultimately left to fend for themselves in Martha’s Vineyard,” based on the statement.
  • The sheriff’s office said it had been “dealing with private attorneys that are representing the victims and advocacy groups while “getting ready to use any federal agencies which have concurrent jurisdiction, if the need arise.”

Worth noting: Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said at a news conference that it had been unclear whether any laws were broken, however the migrants were “lured under false pretenses” into residing at a hotel before being flown to Florida and Massachusetts.

  • He said they “were promised the answer to several of these problems,” including work.
  • Lawyers for a few of the Venezuelan migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard told Axios these were given misleading brochures promising “around 8 months of cash assistance,” employment services, and housing assistance, “at some time throughout their expulsion and relocation from Texas and Florida.”

The picture as a whole: DeSantis the other day joined Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) in transporting migrants and asylum seekers by bus and plane to predominantly Democratic-run cities because they challenge President Biden’s immigration policies.

What they’re saying: DeSantis told Fox News‘ “Hannity” on Monday night that the migrants had volunteered to be on the flights and “all signed consent forms to go.” These were given “a packet that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard” and contact numbers for immigration and refugee agencies, he said.

  • Representatives for DeSantis said in a statement earlier: “Immigrants have already been willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless and ‘left to fend for themselves.'”
  • The statement added that “Florida gave them a chance to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, once we expected.”

Go deeper… DeSantis: Florida could keep relocating migrants with state funds

Editor’s note: This short article has been updated with new details throughout.

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