In Texas, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar has opened a criminal investigation into recently arranged transports of migrants from the state to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Concerns about kidnapping and human trafficking have emerged considering the conservative team behind the trek seemingly lied to migrants, cajoling them to join up with a journey whose destination was initially obscured.
“The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation into the migrants that 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 in Martha’s Vineyard, MA,” the county sheriff’s office said. “Additionally, we are working with private attorneys who are representing the victims, as well as advocacy organizations regarding this incident. We are also preparing to work with any federal agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction, should the need arise.” The Bexar County probe, which the sheriff described on Twitter as a criminal investigation, appears to be the first such examination of what happened, although officials from California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom to a local state representative who’s among Martha’s Vineyard’s legislators have called for a federal Justice Department investigation.
Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis and his team were behind the disputed flights, which migrants were, per available info, dramatically deceived into joining via false promises of assistance with obtaining a place to stay and work opportunities. In reality, individuals at the stage of their immigration proceedings at which people on these flights found themselves aren’t permitted to work, although “Perla” (as someone trying to assemble the flights identified herself to targets) presented claims otherwise. As reported in The Texas Tribune, one of the migrant families targeted by whoever exactly it is that was going around in hopes of convincing individuals to join the trip was homeless at the time. In Massachusetts, the migrants were essentially left to deal with any subsequent issues themselves.
Local officials weren’t provided advance notice of their arrival, and there was no vetting process examining, among other possibilities, whether these folks had any preexisting connections in the area that might make a trip there at least halfway logical. Migrants on these flights were (and are) seeking asylum. No matter any insistence by DeSantis or anyone on his side on referring to the group as illegal immigrants, they’re allowed to be here. Many of those arriving at the southern border are quickly turned back in connection to pandemic era rules, but these individuals — who already went through initial stages of processing by immigration authorities — were some of the comparatively significantly smaller portion who remained.
What kind of startling moral decrepitude is required to set up a flight taking disadvantaged migrants, including some who were homeless, across the country without setting anything up to help them? What about their immigration appointments? Is making a point — or whatever — via migrants showing up via plane and bus in Democratic-leaning areas more important to Republicans than basic decency? That’s some of what is at issue here. Besides the legal concerns, like the potential pressure to commit criminal acts via Perla pushing the prospect of the asylum seekers working, many have also noted the moral implications of the situation.