Feels like this should have been done awhile ago, but better late than never.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), California State Attorney General Rob Bonta and Texas Sheriff Javier Salazar sent a letter to the Department of Justice on Thursday calling for an investigation into the Florida program responsible for transporting migrants to several Democratic-led cities.
“It is unconscionable to use people as political props by persuading them to travel to another state based on false or deceptive representations,” the trio of Democratic officials wrote. “We urge USDOJ to investigate potential violations of federal law by those involved in this Scheme.”
For months now, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott (R) have both been transporting and dropping off migrants in Democratic cities across the country, one-upping one another and using the not-so-cheap stunt to score political points with the MAGA base, all at the expense of vulnerable migrants.
Between Abbott and DeSantis, millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent to transport thousands of migrants to cities, like Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Washington D.C. and Denver. The Thursday letter does not address the same scheme orchestrated by Abbott — who has taken credit for busing over 20,000 people across the country, including more than 100 people to Los Angeles in recent weeks.
The two-page letter specifically asks the DOJ to investigate whether Florida acted unlawfully when it flew people seeking asylum to California and Massachusetts over the past 10 months.
In September 2022, DeSantis flew migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard – promising them aid – and dropped them on the island without notifying local authorities.
Later, Bexar County Sheriff Salazar launched an investigation into the flight, concluding that all aboard had been tricked into thinking they would be provided with housing, education and employment. Salazar referred the case to the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, which continues to weigh filing charges.
And in June, DeSantis also sent two flights to Sacramento, both with undocumented migrants onboard. Bonta recently opened criminal and civil investigations into the June 2 and June 5 transport of 36 people from Texas to Sacramento.
See here for some background; there’s a bunch of links in that post for further reading. A copy of the letter sent is in the post above. The key allegation here is that these migrants, who are legally seeking asylum, are being lured onto buses or planes under false premises and thus without their informed consent, and then dropped off to fend for themselves, though thankfully local organizations and volunteers show up to help them. If this were in any context that didn’t involve grandstanding politicians, we would call it some form of kidnapping. We’ll see what the Justice Department calls it. The Current has more.