Cape and Islands District Attorney Rob Galibois is officially joining hands with California and Texas officials who have asked US Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to help investigate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s scheme to transport immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard “by means of fraud, deceit, and/or inveiglement.”
In a letter to the Justice Department Monday — less than 48 hours after DeSantis was met on Cape Cod with a public protest during a day of fund-raising — Galibois said because of the “interstate transportation of these migrants, this alleged scheme remains available for federal prosecution.”
“Therefore, I stand behind and support a request made to you on July 6… to open federal criminal and civil investigations into these incidents,” Galibois wrote.
In September, DeSantis — who has since launched a bid for president and attended two campaign events last weekend in New England — sent two planeloads of migrants from Texas to the Vineyard in what was widely considered a surprise political stunt. Last month, similar flights landed in Sacramento, with the DeSantis administration also ultimately taking credit.
In July, a Texas sheriff and California officials asked the Justice Department to investigate the transport of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard and Sacramento in the past nine months as part of DeSantis’s migrant “relocation” program.
In his letter, Galibois said he plans to begin his own investigation by reviewing the interviews conducted by first responders shortly after the migrants deplaned on Martha’s Vineyard. Galibois asked federal law enforcement for help obtaining “certified translations and transcriptions of these interviews.”
“These interviews, coupled with other obtained evidence, would provide crucial support for my initial assessment as to whether further investigation is warranted,” he wrote. “As elected law enforcement and public officials from California to Texas have noted, it is unconscionable to use people as political props by persuading them to travel to another state based on false or deceptive representations.”
DeSantis is already facing a federal suit from September brought by Massachusetts group Lawyers for Civil Rights. However, the group’s executive director, Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, said there is room for law enforcement at the county, state, and federal levels to further investigate.
“In rounding up the migrants, putting them on planes and shipping them to Martha’s Vineyard, a panoply of civil and criminal regulations have been violated,” he said, adding that the attorney general and Justice Department have both been “noticeably quiet” on their response to the issue.
State Attorney General Andrea Campbell told the Globe Friday her office will continue to work in partnership with federal, state, and local officials “to hold accountable those who violate the rights of our residents and visitors.” A spokesman confirmed her office has already met with Galibois to discuss the migrant crisis.
While Galibois has the authority to bring criminal charges against DeSantis and his administration, attorneys say both Campbell and the Justice Department also have the authority to investigate the Florida politician for both civil and criminal violations.
“As an issue that crosses state lines, the radar should turn on for the Department of Justice,” immigration attorney Giselle Rodriguez told the Globe, adding that the potential criminal charges are also severe enough to warrant the state attorney general’s involvement.
See here for the background. Hey, people are saying that ol’ Meatball Ron could stand to rack up a few indictments to help his flailing Presidential campaign. I’m not normally one to favor anything that helps Republican candidates, but in this case I’ll make an exception. Politico and the Current have more.