Lawyers representing dozens of illegal immigrants who arrived on Martha’s Vineyard last week demanded Saturday that federal and state prosecutors open a criminal case against Florida’s governor. Ron DeSantis, saying state officials tricked migrants into making the trip.
Civil Rights attorneys accused Florida of targeting immigrants “based on their race and national origin” in an attempt to make a political statement.
But LCR, which counts about 30 of the immigrants as clients, said the trip was not without consequences for illegal immigrants, who may miss immigration controls and be left on an island where job prospects for adults and educational opportunities for children are fewer. scarce supply.
“They took advantage of the vulnerability of our clients, many of whom had suffered profound trauma in their home countries and on their journeys to the United States, and exploited this vulnerability to gain trust through false promises,” said the executive director of LCR, Iván Espinoza-Madrigal. in letters to the Massachusetts Attorney General and the US Attorney.
LCR said immigrants were told they could find jobs, schools and immigration assistance if they boarded planes and headed north. Some immigrants said they were told they were headed to Boston, only to be told mid-flight that they were going to Martha’s Vineyard, LCR said.
The officials who loaded the migrants onto the planes then “disappeared,” leaving the island’s locals to respond to the new arrivals, LCR said.
The lawsuit for criminal charges is the latest escalation in a battle over border chaos under President Biden.
Mr. DeSantis is weighing a possible 2024 presidential bid, and his decision to move the migrants — and the fierce denunciations of his opponents — underscore how much is at stake.
Officials in Florida, and those in Texas and Arizona, who have been transporting immigrants for months, have said they are trying to share the pain of the surge of illegal immigrants who have arrived at their door thanks to the country’s more lenient border policies. Mr Biden
Roughly 200,000 illegal immigrants jump the border each month and more than half of them are caught and released, most in border states but some in the interior after the federal government sent them deeper.
Some of the migrants say they intend to file asylum claims, though most of those claims will fail, according to historical data. But the Biden administration says immigrants can stay here while their cases are pending, a process that typically takes years, and experts said the prospect of settling in is even more tempting to make the trip.