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Texas sheriff opens investigation into migrants lured to Marthas Vineyard under false pretenses


“Somebody saw fit ahead from another state, hunt them down, prey upon them and benefit from their desperate situation simply for the sake of political theater.”

A migrant looks from aboard a ferry that departed from Marthas Vineyard on Friday, Sept. 16, 2022. Migrants shipped to Marthas Vineyard by Floridas Republican governor said on Friday they have been misled about where these were being taken, prompting immigration lawyers to promise legal action because the refugees from Venezuela were relocated temporarily to a federal military base. Matt Cosby/The NY Times

Police in Texas announced Monday they are opening a criminal investigation in to the person or persons that lured migrants from San Antonio and arranged to allow them to be flown to Marthas Vineyard under false pretenses.

  • Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Javier Salazar, Sheriff of Bexar County, Tex. made the announcement in a press conference posted to social media marketing.

On Sept. 14, he said, a Venezuelan migrant was paid to recruit approximately 50 folks from a migrant resource center San Antonio in which to stay an area hotel before these were flown to Florida and Marthas Vineyard. This is done under false pretenses, Salazar said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took credit for the operation immediately after the migrants touched down in Massachusetts.

These were promised work, these were promised the perfect solution is to several of these problems. These were taken up to Marthas Vineyard, from what we are able to gather, for bit more when compared to a photo op, video op, he said. They were unceremoniously stranded in Marthas Vineyard.

Salazar said that your choice to open a study was made after conferring with the League of United Latin AMERICANS, the biggest and oldest Hispanic and Latin-American civil rights organization in the united kingdom. He also spoke with members of the neighborhood and national media and a lawyer who’s representing the migrants.

That attorney is Rachel Self, Salazar said. Self is situated in Boston.

At this time Im unable to definitively say heres the statute they broke, either federal, state or local, but what I could let you know is that its wrong. Just from the human rights perspective, that which was done to these people is wrong, Salazar said.

Police do have the names of multiple people thought to be persons of fascination with the case, Salazar said, but didn’t reveal their names.

Within the investigations first stages, Salazar said he could be hoping to obtain as near a firsthand account as you possibly can regarding what the migrants experienced during San Antonio. Police are investigating that which was promised in their mind, and whether they signed any paperwork.

Salazar said that the operation may have infringed on the rights while also putting them in harms way.

Was this strictly a predatory measure? Somebody coming and preying upon people who are here minding their very own business and so are here legally, not bothering a soul? Salazar said. Somebody saw fit ahead from another state, hunt them down, prey upon them and make the most of their desperate situation simply for the sake of political theater and putting peoples lives in peril.

Salazar, an elected Democratic official, said that the case doesn’t have anything regarding political affiliation. His office is not in touch with the White House, he added, but is available to coordinating with the Biden Administration to research whether federal laws were broken aswell.

Anybody thats in this country, whether documented or undocumented has certain rights they still have rights never to be victimized. They still have rights never to be preyed upon.

Because the group found its way to Massachusetts, local and national figures have called on police to research.

State Sen. Julian Cyr and Rep. Dylan Fernandes urged the DOJ to do this Monday. In a Twitter post, Fernandes called the movement of the migrants inhumane.

It’s not only morally criminal, you can find legal implications around fraud, kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, and human trafficking, he said.

In a post of their own, Cyr said an investigation by the DOJ was absolutely warranted, and that none of the migrants were or are actually in violation of federal immigration law.

The migrants were transported from Marthas Vineyard and taken to Joint Base Cape Cod in recent days. The bottom has dormitory-style rooms for them, and The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is attempting to ensure they will have usage of food, shelter and essential services. Gov. Charlie Baker also announced he would activate around 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to greatly help.

Both Cyr and Fernandes toured the bottom Monday, NBC Boston reported, and spoke with one particular being housed there. They reportedly used words like tricked and kidnapping when describing how they finished up in Massachusetts. One individual thought these were likely to Washington, D.C., among others were told they might be flown to Boston.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom also called on the DOJ to research whether charges such as for example kidnapping were warranted.

What infuriates me probably the most concerning this case is that here we’ve 48 people who are already on crisis and I really believe they were preyed upon, Salazar said. Somebody originated from out of state, preyed upon these folks, lured them with promises of an improved life to you need to be exploited and hoodwinked into causeing this to be visit to Florida and onward to Marthas Vineyard for what I really believe to be only political posturing.

A person with information regarding this case is encouraged to get hold of [emailprotected], or call (210) 335-6070.

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