The Sheriff of Bexar County, Texas, Javier Salazar, has recommended charges in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ scheme to trick migrants in San Antonio onto a plane to dump them in Martha’s Vineyard, reported the Miami Herald on Monday.
“Those flights last September sent 49 asylum seekers, most of them Venezuelans, from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts,” reported Sarah Blaskey. “According to a statement provided to the Miami Herald, the Bexar County sheriff completed its criminal investigation into the on-the-ground operation that allegedly lured migrants onto the flights with false promises of jobs and opportunities on the other end. ‘The case filed includes both felony and misdemeanor charges of Unlawful Restraint,’ according to the statement. ‘At this time, the case is being reviewed by the DA’s office. Once an update is available, it will be provided to the public.'”
Florida officials may have chosen Martha’s Vineyard as a political statement, as former President Barack Obama’s family owns an estate there. The unexpected dumping of migrants in the off-season island resort and fishing town off the coast of Cape Cod sent local residents scrambling to provide emergency food and shelter, and connect them with legal services, as no federal immigration offices exist on the island for them to check in with.
The final decision to issue charges would rest with the district attorney of Bexar County.
“Last fall, Salazar issued special certifications to all of the migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard declaring them to be official victims of a crime and paving the way for them to stay in the United States under a special visa for those helpful to law enforcement,” said the report. “Unlawful restraint is a misdemeanor unless the victim is younger than 17 — as was the case for five of the migrants.”
It remains unclear who exactly would face charges, but it could go as high as some top aides to DeSantis: “The migrant relocation program, using Florida tax dollars, was overseen by DeSantis’ chief of staff, James Uthmeier, and public safety czar Larry Keefe.”
All of this comes as more planeloads of migrants are being unloaded in Sacramento, California, also having falsely been told they were being provided with work. California officials suspect may also be the work of the DeSantis administration and are threatening legal action.