More than a dozen migrants were dropped off at the door of a California church after being flown into the state by private plane, according to state officials.
The migrants were dropped off Saturday at the Diocese of Sacramento “without prior arrangement or care” and in possession of documents believed to be from the Florida state government, California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.
The group had been flown from Texas to New Mexico before being flown by private jet to Sacramento, Calif., Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement.
Officials are weighing potential civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of “these vulnerable immigrants,” Bonta said, likening the move to “state-sanctioned kidnapping.”
The California Department of Justice is investigating the circumstances surrounding who paid for the group’s trip and whether the individuals orchestrating the trip deceived anyone with false promises or violated criminal laws, including kidnapping, Newsom said.
The group of migrants were reportedly approached by a private contractor in El Paso, Texas, who told them they would receive jobs, free support and help getting into a migrant center, affiliate KXTV reported. to ABC Sacramento, citing Sacramento-area congregations. LAW).
The 16 migrants did not know where they were and had only the equivalent of a backpack, Sacramento Diocese Bishop Jaime Soto said in a statement.
“As we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: state-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting,” Bonta said. “We are a nation built by immigrants and we must condemn the cruelty and hateful rhetoric of those, whether heads of state or private parties, who refuse to recognize humanity and turn their backs on humanity. extension of dignity and care to other human beings.”
Newsom and Bonta met with the group of migrants on Saturday and are working with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg’s office and local and nonprofit partners to ensure migrants are treated with respect and dignity and come to their homes. intended destination as they pursue their immigration cases, officials said.
The city welcomes the migrants with open arms, Steinberg said in a statement, accusing those who transported the migrants “of using frightened human beings to score cheap political points.”
“California and the community of Sacramento will welcome these individuals with open arms and provide them with the respect, compassion and care they will need after such a heartbreaking experience,” Bonta said.