Martha’s Vineyard Migrants Respond to New Florida Legislation
Florida lawmakers last week approved Governor Ron DeSantis’ request to change the program under which he fraudulently induced 49 migrants to fly to Martha’s Vineyard last Fall. Among other alterations, the new law would remove the restriction in the original law that required migrants to be relocated “from this state.” The migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard, who are represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights in a pending federal class action lawsuit, were all in Texas when they were fraudulently induced to travel to Massachusetts.
“This change simply highlights all over again the illegality of the Martha’s Vineyard flights. Try as they might, the Governor’s allies in the Florida Legislature cannot clean up his mess retroactively. Our clients were recruited by the Governor’s co-conspirators on the ground in Texas and were fraudulently induced onto flights to Martha’s Vineyard based on false promises and misrepresentations. Tweaks in state law cannot alter that reality, nor the liability that Defendants now face for their conduct in federal court,” said Oren Sellstrom, Litigation Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights.
As our complaint highlights, when State officials use fraud and deception to transport across the country migrants who are in active federal immigration proceedings, they are interfering with federal immigration laws in ways that are deeply problematic.
“The fact that Governor DeSantis now wants open authority to transport people who are not present nor considering traveling to Florida confirms that his real goal is to advance his own political aspirations, at the expense of vulnerable migrants,” added Helena Olea, Program’s Director of Alianza Americas.