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Migrants Transported Through Martha’s Vineyard File Complaint Against DeSantis: NPR


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is being sued on behalf of migrants who were airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard last Wednesday without warning.

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Migrants Transported Through Martha’s Vineyard File Complaint Against DeSantis: NPR

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is being sued on behalf of migrants who were airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard last Wednesday without warning.

Ronda Churchill/Getty Images

A civil rights law firm on Tuesday filed a federal class action lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others for transporting about 50 immigrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard with no shelter or resources in place.

Lawyers for Civil Rights, together with migrant-led nonprofit Alianza Americas, filed the lawsuit on behalf of “Vineyard migrants and all similarly situated people who are fraudulently incited to cross state lines by DeSantis and the State of Florida,” the band told NPR in an email. In addition to Governor DeSantis, the lawsuit also named the State of Florida, Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue, and their accomplices as defendants.

The lawsuit comes after last Wednesday when nearly 50 migrants were taken on planes from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, with a stopover in Florida in between. They arrived without warning and the local community rushed to provide food, shelter and translation services. Migrants say they were not told about their final destination, but were promised a chance for a job and a better life.

Alianza Americas executive director Oscar Chacòn said DeSantis was using migrants to “advance an agenda filled with hate.” “That’s why we’ve taken steps to legally challenge what we consider not only a morally wrong action, but also what we believe to be illegal,” he said.

The attorneys want DeSantis and his co-defendants barred “from inducing immigrants to cross state lines by fraud and misrepresentation,” along with damages “for harm suffered by migrants.”

On Monday, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said in a press release that his office was investigating whether the migrants had been victims of crimes:

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation into the migrants who were lured from the Migrant Resource Center, located in Bexar County, TX, and flown to Florida, where they were ultimately left to fend for themselves. same at Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

Hours after Salazar announced the criminal investigation, DeSantis appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show. The governor said the investigation was an overreaction and that the migrants chose to come to Martha’s Vineyard voluntarily. He also claimed that all the migrants had signed consent forms and that any condemnation of the thefts was a “virtuous signal”.

The governor’s office and the Florida Department of Transportation did not immediately respond to NPR’s requests for comment on the lawsuit.

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