Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Home POLITICS Texas Sheriff Investigates Ron DeSantis Immigrant Flights to Martha's Vineyard

Texas Sheriff Investigates Ron DeSantis Immigrant Flights to Martha’s Vineyard

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas sheriff opened an investigation Monday into two migrant flights sent to Martha’s Vineyard by the Florida governor. Ron DeSantis, but did not say what laws may have been violated by putting 48 Venezuelans on private planes last week from San Antonio.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, an elected Democrat, criticized the flights that took off in his city as political posturing. But he said investigators so far had only spoken with attorneys representing some of the immigrants and had not named any potential suspects who could face charges.

He also didn’t mention DeSantis at a news conference that appeared to mark the first time a law enforcement official said he would investigate the flights.

“I think there is some criminal activity involved here,” Salazar said. “But right now we’re trying to keep an open mind and we’re going to investigate to find out what exact laws were broken if that turns out to be the case.”

DeSantis’ office responded with a statement saying immigrants had been given more options to succeed in Massachusetts.

“Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless and ‘left to fend for themselves,’” DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said. “Florida gave them the opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered them greater resources, as we hoped.”

Venezuelan immigrants who flew to the wealthy island of Massachusetts from San Antonio on Wednesday said they were told they were going to Boston. Julio Henríquez, a lawyer who met with several migrants, said they “had no idea where they were going or where they were.”

He said a Latina woman approached the migrants at a city-run shelter in San Antonio and put them up at a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she visited them every day with food and gift cards. She promised jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, according to Henriquez.

Salazar said the migrants had been “taken advantage of” and “deceived.”

Some Democrats have urged the Justice Department to investigate the flights, including the California governor. Gavin Newsom and US Rep. Joaquin Castro, whose district includes San Antonio.

However, a federal investigation could be complicated. It’s unclear if anyone boarded buses or planes unwillingly or if their civil rights were violated. The rights of asylum seekers arriving in the US are also more limited because they are not citizens. However, the constitution protects them from discrimination based on race or national origin and from inappropriate treatment by the government.

Associated Press reporters Acacia Coronado and David Fischer in Miami contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.


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