Lawyers for Civil Rights, a nonprofit immigrant advocacy group representing more than 30 of the nearly 50 immigrants who flew to Martha’s Vineyard, filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of Alianza Americas and other immigrants, according to a press release issued by the group.
Two planes carrying nearly 50 migrants, mostly from Venezuela, arrived on Martha’s Vineyard from Texas last Wednesday night, arranged by Florida’s governor. Ron DeSantis. The move is part of a series of moves by Republican governors to transport migrants to free cities in protest of what they say is the federal government’s failure to secure the southern border.
The lawsuit was filed against DeSantis, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, Florida and the state Department of Transportation, according to the press release and the lawsuit itself. Part of the lawsuit alleges that the defendants defrauded vulnerable immigrants to advance politically motivated to charter two flights to transport immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
“No one should be used as a political pawn in this country’s highly polarized debate on immigration,” said Ivan Espinosa-Madrigal, executive director of Civil Rights Lawyers.
The lawsuit alleges that a woman called dozens of immigrants “to sign a document to get a $10 McDonald’s gift card” and that she “did not explain the contents of the document nor fully translate it into Spanish: the entire paragraph on Liability and shipping were not translated at all, and the language describing the journey from Texas to Massachusetts was not translated at all.”
According to court documents, one of the plaintiffs in the case was told by unidentified people, “When they first met, and left Texas, he would have permanent housing, a steady job, and help him with immigration. ”
Oscar Chacòn, executive director of Alianza Americas, called DeSantis’ flight to Martha’s Vineyard “morally vile.” Alianza Americas is a network of immigrant-led organizations supporting immigrants across the United States.
“That’s why we have taken legal steps to challenge conduct that we believe is not only morally reprehensible, but also unlawful,” Chacon said in a statement. “We want to do everything we can to prevent More abuse of newly arrived immigrants, especially asylum seekers, who deserve support, protection, and recognition for their incredible contributions to America and to their loved ones in their home countries.”
In response to the lawsuit, DeSantis’ office repeated what it said earlier: The transport of immigrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard “was done on a voluntary basis.”
“Immigrants homeless, hungry, abandoned – these activists didn’t care about them at the time. Florida’s plan gave them a fresh start in the sanctuary state, and these people chose to fly to Massachusetts on charter flights,” the statement read. road.
DeSantis’ office also released a form they called “official consent to transport,” which included the redacted signature of someone they claimed was an immigrant who agreed they were flying to Martha’s Vineyard.
Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar told reporters late Monday that his agency will open an investigation into the transport of 48 Venezuelan migrants from the state to Martha’s Vineyard.
Salazar, a Democrat, said Monday it was his understanding that a Venezuelan immigrant was paid last Wednesday to recruit 50 immigrants from a resource center in San Antonio, where Bexar County is located. As such, Salazar said he believes the law was violated not only in the county but also on the federal side.
He said the immigrants flew to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard under “false pretenses.”
The sheriff said they were flown to Martha’s Vineyard “to be photographed and stranded”. He believes these migrants are being “exploited and tricked” into making political posturing. Salazar told reporters that the sheriff has been talking to lawyers representing some immigrants to get first-hand accounts of what happened.
He said the allegations he had heard so far were “disgusting and human rights violations”. Salazar said he felt responsible for what happened.
DeSantis, who claimed to have arranged for the migrants to fly, told Fox News Monday night that the migrants were not misled.
“They all signed a consent form and then the vendor who did it for Florida gave them a package with a map of Martha’s Vineyard with the numbers for the different services on Martha’s Vineyard,” DeSanti said.
“Why don’t they want to go, considering where they are? They are in very, very bad shape, they have to be cleaned up and everything is treated well,” he said.
The Florida Department of Transportation paid Destin-based airline Vertol Systems $1.565 million as part of the state’s immigration resettlement program, according to state budget records.
Budget records show that $615,000 was paid on Sept. 8, and the state requested $950,000 on Sept. 16.
Budget records do not detail what “contractual services” Vertol provided to the department, and it is unclear whether the payments were for two flights to Martha’s Vineyard, flown and operated by Ultimate Jet Charters, which was An independent private jet company. Ohio.
Reports and flight plans suggested a chartered flight to Martha’s Vineyard was about to bring a group of immigrants to Delaware, prompting state officials and volunteers to prepare Tuesday.
Earlier, the flight-tracking website showed overnight a flight plan submitted to commercial dispatchers and the Federal Aviation Administration about an Ultimate Jet charter similar to the one used for the Martha’s Vineyard flight. The sites list a route from Kelly Field in San Antonio to a short stop in Crestview, Florida, to Georgetown, Delaware.
Texas Sheriff Salazar said Wednesday that he was told there would be another flight on Tuesday, but plans had changed.
“We had word this morning that a flight was going to arrive in San Antonio and then take a group of immigrants to Delaware,” he told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota on Tuesday. “My understanding is that at the last minute, we Received news that the flight was delayed.”
Salazar said they were not given a reason to delay the flight.
Delaware Department of Health and Social Services spokeswoman Jill Friedel said at a news conference Tuesday that they had no reports of any immigrants arriving at this time. The governor’s office has not received any outreach from Florida or Texas, she said, but noted the state is gearing up just in case.
John Carney’s office has also heard of the reports, and officials are working to prepare for immigration, according to the governor’s spokeswoman, Emily David Hershman. Arrived suddenly.
“We are coordinating with federal officials and are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they seek asylum,” she said.