The DeSantis administration final week paid an aviation company $615,000 to move some 48 migrants from San Antonio — positioned in Bexar County — to the elite trip enclave in Massachusetts. The Republican-led Florida Legislature had authorised $12 million this spring for transferring migrants out of Florida to different states, one thing DeSantis is now capitalizing on as he seeks reelection this fall.
The sheriff’s transfer follows requests from Democrats, together with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and U.S. Lawyer for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins, for the Justice Department to investigate DeSantis over the flights. Democrats — together with President Joe Biden — had additionally derided DeSantis’ motion as both “reckless” or a “stunt.”
Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and New York Metropolis Mayor Eric Adams, each Democrats, have additionally hinted at legal action against Texas GOP Gov. Greg Abbott, who has bused 1000’s of migrants from the southern border to Chicago, NYC and Washington, D.C., straining shelter assets and housing.
Salazar advised reporters Monday that the migrants have been “lured” away from a migrant useful resource heart in San Antonio beneath “false pretenses” such because the promise of labor earlier than finally winding up in Martha’s Winery. The Bexar County Sheriffs Workplace is working to determine doable suspects, in addition to get firsthand accounts from migrants about what unfolded, he mentioned. A few of these migrants told news outlets that they have been promised work and anticipated to reach in Boston, not Martha’s Winery.
These allegations differ from how the DeSantis administration defined the scenario.
The motion introduced by the Texas sheriff got here hours after DeSantis advised a conservative radio host that the migrants who his administration transported to Martha’s Winery have been “homeless.”
“This was an enormous profit to them,” DeSantis mentioned to Erick Erickson, claiming that a few of those that wound up on the flight have written the seller that transported them and thanked them.
The DeSantis administration additionally on Monday pushed again towards complaints that the migrants have been taken benefit of or mistreated. An administration official, who agreed to talk to journalists on background, advised reporters that a lot of those that made the journey have been homeless and hungry and that previous to the airplane experience they have been put in lodging for one to 2 days earlier than the journey.
The administration additionally mentioned nobody was promised a job and that everybody was given “a number of alternatives” to depart and that some determined to not go on the flight. Those that did make the flight have been offered luggage with snacks and water and data.
When requested by reporters, Salazar mentioned the investigation “doesn’t have something to do with political affiliation.”
“At this level I’m not capable of definitively say ‘Right here’s the statute that they broke,’ both federal, state, or native,” Salazar mentioned. “However what I can inform you is it’s unsuitable. From a human rights perspective, what was executed to those people was unsuitable.”
DeSantis on Friday pledged that Florida would proceed to bankroll the transportation of migrants from Texas to “sanctuary cities” throughout the nation.
Many conservatives have lauded the potential 2024 presidential contender and mentioned the governor had introduced consideration to the long-running surge of individuals coming throughout the southern border. Greater than 2 million folks have been arrested up to now 11 months, according to the Washington Post, citing data launched on Monday by the Biden administration.
“Immigrants have been greater than keen to depart Bexar County after being deserted, homeless, and ‘left to fend for themselves,’” Taryn Fenske, communications director for DeSantis, mentioned in a press release Monday when requested about Salazar’s probe. “Until the MA nationwide guard has deserted these people, they’ve been offered lodging, sustenance, clothes.”
Gary Fineout contributed to this story.