Good, because this whole thing is not only weird and creepy but it’s not hard to see how at least some aspects of it could have been illegal.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said Monday the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is opening an investigation into whether people who “lured” migrants onto planes to Martha’s Vineyard did so “under false pretenses.”
Two flights of migrants departed San Antonio’s Kelly Field last week and landed at the Massachusetts resort island. A 27-year-old Venezuelan migrant told the San Antonio Report a woman paid him to recruit other migrants for the flights, telling him the people would be sent to “sanctuary states.”
Some of the migrants who made the trip said they were promised jobs, English classes and housing, none of which materialized.
“What infuriates me the most about this case is that here we have 48 people who are already on hard times, right?” Salazar said via a hastily called Zoom press conference.
“They are here legally in our country, they have every right to be where they are, and I believe they were preyed upon. Somebody … preyed upon these people, lured them with promises for a better life, which is what they were absolutely looking for.”
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken credit for the flights, saying, according to NPR, that the migrants who accepted the flights had been identified as wanting to relocate to Florida. The state has allocated $12 million “to facilitate the transport of unauthorized aliens out of Florida.”
None of the migrants who spoke to the San Antonio Report mentioned wanting to relocate to Florida or being asked whether they were planning to go to Florida. All said they were excited by the prospect of getting work.
Salazar said he believes there is a “high possibility” that Texas laws had been broken, and perhaps federal laws as well. “We will work with any and all agencies” that might also be investigating the incident, he said.
I don’t know what will come of this. If in the end this goes nowhere, it won’t surprise me. But the basic idea here is that these folks were transported across state lines under false premises, and that sounds awfully sketchy to me. There’s already been a lot of reporting and talk on Twitter about this – TPM has been on it and has cited the San Antonio Report a couple of times. There’s now a cash reward being offered to identify “Perla”, the person who initially approached the migrants with the false promises that led them to board the plane. I’ll be interested to see where this goes, that’s all I’m saying. And if there were laws broken along the way, sure seems to me that enforcing some consequences for that would have a bunch of salutary effects. NPR and the Trib have more.