Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar said his department is investigating Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s plan after the governor recruited a woman to fraudulently convince 50 asylum seekers to leave San Antonio and travel from Florida to Massachusetts.
According to a report by Popular Information, migrants were given a fake brochure promising specific benefits in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., including job security, education for their children, eight months of cash assistance, and more.
None, in fact, turned out to be true.
DeSantis claims the migrants weren’t misled and said the plane rides were a part of Florida’s $12 million program to relocate migrants to “sanctuary destinations.”
But Salazar called DeSantis’s plan “political posturing” and is working with the League of United Latin American Citizens, Boston-based immigration attorney Rachel Self, and immigration advocacy groups to learn what happened.
“What infuriates me the most about this case is that here we have 48 people who are already on hard times,” Salazar said. “They are here legally in our country at that point, they have every right to be where they are, and I believe they were preyed upon.”
Salazar also said he believes something criminal happened and doesn’t care about the political affiliations of whoever may be involved.
“Traveling from another state to prey upon people that are already in a desperate situation and then dumping them off at the risk of life and limb to them and to their children, that’s a no go for me no matter what your party affiliation is,” Salazar said.
Late Wednesday night, two planes full of 50 Texas-based asylum seekers landed in Martha’s Vineyard, with Desantis taking full credit for the travel.
DeSantis falsely predicted Massachusetts residents would go “berserk.” Instead, the community collaborated to provide the migrants with housing, food, medical assistance, clothes, and other needs while under their care.
According to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, the migrants, majority Venezuelan, have been relocated to Joint Base Cape Cod, a safe temporary accommodation.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has also transported migrants from Texas to Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, and Vice President Kamala Harris’s house for the last few months. He maintains all migrants have been transported voluntarily.
Abbott said Texas’ $12 million program is to raise attention to President Joe Biden’s “open border policies.”
Despite criticism from Republicans, Biden has also been criticized by Democrats and immigration reform advocates for keeping Trump-era policies, including Title 42 and Remain in Mexico, which negatively impacted migrants of color, while simultaneously processing Ukrainian migrants who were also seeking asylum.