Tuesday, September 20, 2022

At Least They Didn’t Use Boxcars

From the Washington Post:

A Texas sheriff will investigate the flights arranged by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to transport dozens of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, allegedly after making false promises of work and other services.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office announced that it had opened an investigation into last week’s incident, in which migrants were “lured from the Migrant Resource Center” in their county — which covers greater San Antonio — and flown to Florida and later on to Martha’s Vineyard, where they were “left to fend for themselves.”

“Additionally, we are working with private attorneys who are representing the victims, as well as advocacy organizations regarding this incident,” Sheriff Javier Salazar (D) said in a statement. “We are also preparing to work with any federal agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction, should the need arise.”

DeSantis surprised federal and state officials on Wednesday by sending migrants who recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border to the affluent Massachusetts resort island. The move is part of an ongoing campaign by DeSantis and other Republican governors in Texas and Arizona to send migrants to Democrat-heavy cities such as Washington, New York and Chicago to publicize soaring numbers of crossings this year on the southern border.

About 50 migrants — including men, women and children — boarded shuttle flights from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, with a brief stop in Florida. Many of them later told immigration attorneys and advocates that they were promised work and other benefits if they traveled to Massachusetts. That was not the case.

“They were promised a solution to several of their problems,” Salazar said Monday. “They were taken to Martha’s Vineyard, from what we can gather, for little more than a photo op, video op, and then they were unceremoniously stranded in Martha’s Vineyard.”

The Miami Herald picks up the story

In response to a request for comment, Jeremy Redfern, DeSantis’ deputy press secretary, did not answer with words.

Instead, he emailed a screenshot of a news story with the headline: “Bexar County Sheriff Salazar says Biden admin’s handling of immigration ‘isn’t working.’ ”

On Monday night, DeSantis appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show and defended the flights.

The governor said the program was “clearly voluntary and all the other nonsense you are hearing is just not true.”

But the migrants said they were recruited for the Martha’s Vineyard trip with falsehoods.

Several said that a woman known as “Perla,” who is not believed to be a migrant, approached them outside a migrant resource center in San Antonio and offered them jobs and assistance if they flew to Massachusetts. Those claims of employment and other opportunities turned out to be false as officials on Martha’s Vineyard were unprepared for their arrival last Wednesday.

I’m not hopeful that this one case will bring DeSantis’s antics to a halt. The governor’s spokesdroid said that the idea was to give these immigrants a better life. For those of us who have read history, that has a familiar echo, except back then it involved using boxcars.


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