Lawyers Say Martha’s Vineyard Migrant Flights a ‘Political Stunt,’ Needs Criminal Probe

A Venezuelan migrant is led onto a bus at St. Andrews Episcopal Church on Friday, Sept. 16
Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The Massachusetts attorney general and the federal government received letters Sunday alleging the transportation of “vulnerable” immigrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard was a “political stunt” demanding open criminal investigations.

Lawyers representing some of those involved claimed their clients “were induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretenses,” including promises of working opportunities, schooling for their children and immigration assistance, by people working with and on behalf of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), the Washington Times reports.

Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) further accused Florida of targeting the migrants “based on race and national origin” in an attempt to make a political statement.

LCR, which counts about 30 of the migrants as clients, claimed the trip had consequences for those who may miss immigration check-ins and were left on an island where job prospects for adults and education opportunities for children are in slim supply, the report set out.

“They preyed on the vulnerability of our clients — many of whom had suffered deep trauma in their home countries and on their journeys to the United States — and exploited this vulnerability to win trust through false promises,” LCR Executive Director Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal said in letters addressed to Massachusetts’ attorney general and U.S. attorney.

LCR further alleged migrants were told they could find work, schools and immigration assistance if they got on the planes and headed north.

Some migrants said they were told they would head to Boston, only to be told mid-flight they were going to Martha’s Vineyard, LCR said.

Volunteers and migrants tossed a soccer ball around at the St. Andrew’s Parrish House in Edgartown, where migrants were being fed lunch with donated food from the community. Two planes of migrants from Venezuela arrived suddenly Wednesday night on Martha’s Vineyard. (Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The letters were signed by LCR’s executive director, Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, and the group’s litigation director, Oren Sellstrom.

As Breitbart News reported, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) is responsible for two planes full of immigrants that landed at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on Wednesday.

“Yes, Florida can confirm the two planes with illegal immigrants that arrived in Martha’s Vineyard today were part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” Desantis communications director Taryn Fenske told Fox News soon after.

“States like Massachusetts, New York and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden administration’s open border policies,” Fenske said.

Fenske also referenced the $12 million Florida’s legislature budgeted to remove illegal immigrants from the state.

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