October 3, 2022

Texas sheriff opens criminal probe into DeSantis’ migrant flight: NPR

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plane carrying 50 immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., is being investigated by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. Emigrants flew from Texas to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard. Here, DeSantis speaks at an Aug. 19 rally in Pittsburgh.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ plane carrying 50 immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., is being investigated by the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. Emigrants flew from Texas to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard. Here, DeSantis speaks at an Aug. 19 rally in Pittsburgh.

Jeff Swenson/Getty Images

Florida Gov. Authorities in Texas have opened a criminal investigation into Ron DeSantis’ plane carrying 50 Venezuelan immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts last week. Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County, where San Antonio is located, said in a news release Monday that his office is investigating whether immigrants are victims of crime:

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation into the immigrants, who were lured from an Immigrant Resource Center located in Bexar County, TX and flown to Florida, where they were eventually released to fend for themselves in Martha’s Vineyard, MA.

Additionally, we are working with private attorneys representing victims and advocacy organizations regarding this incident. If necessary, we are prepared to work with any federal agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction.

On the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office page, Salazar held a Facebook Live news conference where he answered questions from reporters.

“What we understand is that a Venezuelan immigrant was paid a bird-dog fee to hire 50 migrants — and I would use the word “impressed” under false pretenses — to stay in a hotel for a few days, then picked up. They were on a plane to Florida, then to Martha’s Vineyard for jobs. were transported under the false pretense of being delivered,” says Salazar. “What we could gather, a photo op, a video op, and then they were left there.”

The sheriff went on to explain his anger at the incident and the false promises that had been made to get the migrants on the plane.

“What makes me so angry is that we have 48 people who are legal — they have every right to be here, and they’ve been robbed. Lured by promises of a better life, they’ll grab anything that’s offered for a better life. Life was exploited and cheated for what I believed was a trip to Florida for political posturing.”

“When you’re playing with human lives, people who have every right to be here, it bothers me a little bit. We’re opening an investigation into this.”

Salazar added that the White House has not communicated with his office, but he welcomes open communication.

“This case absolutely needs to go federal, and I welcome the White House’s invitation to discuss it further.”

Salazar wanted to be as clear as possible to remind the audience that immigrants are legal in America, that they have every right to move freely and not be preyed upon or lured into situations they don’t want.

“If somebody’s here, if they’re here illegally, if they’re undocumented, they have a right not to be victimized. They have a right not to be lured to another state by false promises. That being said, these people were here legally. They were documented. All over the country to be a media show. They had the right to walk freely on the streets without being transported. It’s a tragedy. It’s the worst kind of crime. We’re going to see the extent of it. The law is that we can hold people accountable.”