US: Lawyers for migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard call for criminal investigations

GoFundMe for Martha's Vineyard migrants sent the cash to a $16m local non-profit instead

  GoFundMe for Martha's Vineyard migrants sent the cash to a $16m local non-profit instead Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Friday pointed out that the $43,000 donated to a GoFundMe for the Venezuelan migrants on Martha's Vineyard was being given to a local group.The migrants were flown to the holiday island from Texas on Wednesday, on flights chartered by Florida's governor Ron DeSantis. On Friday morning, the 50 left Martha's Vineyard, bound for a Cape Cod air base which was better equipped to house them.

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Lawyers representing 30 migrants sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Martha's Vineyard last week are calling on federal and state prosecutors to open criminal investigations into what they call a "political stunt."

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland addresses staff on his first day at U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Garland, a one time Supreme Court nominee under President Obama, was confirmed Wednesday by a Senate of vote of 70-30. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI © Kevin Dietsch/UPI U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland addresses staff on his first day at U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 11, 2021. Garland, a one time Supreme Court nominee under President Obama, was confirmed Wednesday by a Senate of vote of 70-30. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI

Lawyers for Civil Rights sent letters Saturday evening to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins for the district of Massachusetts and the state's attorney general, Maura Healey, asking them to formally open criminal investigations after two chartered planes with 50 migrants onboard were flown Wednesday from Texas and through Florida to Martha's Vineyard.

Florida Gov. DeSantis vows to continue relocating migrants after 2 flights sent to Martha's Vineyard

  Florida Gov. DeSantis vows to continue relocating migrants after 2 flights sent to Martha's Vineyard On Friday, a group of migrants, mostly originating from Venezuela, arrived at their new temporary home on Cape Cod.Officials have been working to house, feed and support the group of about 50 migrants since they arrived on the wealthy Massachusetts island Wednesday afternoon.

DeSantis has said his state paid for the flights under his so-called immigration relocation program in an effort to "insulate" Florida from the impacts of the federal government's immigration policies.

The attorneys arrived in Martha's Vineyard on Thursday to meet with the migrants, and told the prosecutors in their letters that they "strongly believe" criminal laws were broken.

"Our clients were induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretenses," LCR Executive Director Ivan Spinoza-Madrigal and Litigation Director Oren Sellstrom wrote in the letters. "Individuals, working in concert with the Florida governor, made numerous false promises to our clients, including of work opportunities, schooling for their children and immigration assistance, in order to induct them to travel."

History's famous and most notorious lines and queues

  History's famous and most notorious lines and queues Ever since we were told to form a line, humanity has spent hours, sometimes days, queuing for something, be it to shop, vote, eat, or escape. Waiting in line became the new norm for many of us during the global coronavirus pandemic, and it's worth taking a closer look at this mostly orderly but sometimes chaotic social phenomenon. Starting on September 15, hundreds and thousands of mourners began to line up to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. As is tradition when the monarch dies, her coffin is lying in state at Westminster Hall where members of the public can file through to say goodbye. Elizabeth was the longest-reigning monarch in British history, having carried the burden of the crown for 70 years, and as such there are very few surviving Brits who have experienced the death of a monarch before. The logistics alone are mind-boggling. An estimated 200,000 people are expected to visit Westminster Hall over the three-day period. A careful route has been mapped out for the extensive queue with barriers and police stationed throughout. It stretches for miles down London's South Bank along the River Thames, passing various landmarks like the London Eye and the Globe theater. It's been reported that the line was five miles (8 km) long on Thursday as thousands queued up overnight before the doors opened on Friday. Preparations have been made for a line of up to nine miles (14.5 km) as visits continue over the weekend. The Queen's funeral will take place on Monday, September 19. Click through the gallery for a lineup of some famous and notorious queues throughout history.

The letters state the migrants were only told mid-flight that they were being taken to Martha's Vineyard and not Boston as they were informed prior to boarding the planes. And once landing on the island, those who convinced them to board the planes "disappeared," the lawyers said, leaving their clients to learn that the offers of assistance were untrue.

"This conduct deprived our clients of their liberty by deception. It interfered with their ability to comply with federal immigration obligations, such as attendance at hearings and check-ins. The perpetrators targeted our clients based on race and national origin in order to make the political point they wanted," the letters said.

The migrants were also put up in hotels until the flights could be coordinated in what the lawyers described as a "conspiracy to deprive our clients of their liberty and civil rights."

Little churches still matter, says Martha's Vineyard pastor who took in migrants

  Little churches still matter, says Martha's Vineyard pastor who took in migrants CBS News tells the story of "Our American Village," a first-person narrative series that takes us inside diverse communities across the country to show that there is more than one way to be American. Madison Nguyen is the former Vice Mayor of San Jose, California, who helped in the naming of Little Saigon, a small business district where many Vietnamese businesses thrive.

"They preyed on the vulnerability of our clients -- many of whom had suffered deep trauma in their home countries and on their journeys to the United States -- and exploited this vulnerability to win trust through false promises."

Since Wednesday, DeSantis has repeatedly defended the action with his office telling UPI in a statement over the weekend that the relocation program aims to interdict human smugglers, traffickers and other criminals as well as prevent irregular immigration in Florida.

The Republican governor has said he has $12 million for this relocation plan, with state records indicating Florida paid $615,000 to charter last week's flights.

On Saturday, he said during a press conference that those flown to Martha's Vineyard were identified in Texas as wanting to go to Florida and were offered free transportation to "sanctuary jurisdictions" instead.

He said that there will likely be more migrants sent north by busses and planes.

"I'll tell you this: the legislator gave me $12 million. We're going to be spending every penny of that to make sure that we're protecting the people of the state of Florida," he said.

DeSantis sends two planes with migrants to Martha's Vineyard

  DeSantis sends two planes with migrants to Martha's Vineyard Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) sent two planeloads of migrants to Martha's Vinyard on Wednesday.Video showing the arrival of the planes was obtained by Fox News, which also reported a statement from the governor's office. Roughly 50 migrants, including children, arrived at Martha’s Vineyard Airport in Massachusetts, according to the Martha's Vineyard Times.

The letters were sent by Lawyers for Civil Rights amid mounting calls for DeSantis and others to be prosecuted.

Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes said in a statement that he has spoken with Rollins who informed him that she is "pushing" for a response from the Department of Justice on opening an investigation.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom late last week also "strongly urged" Attorney General Merrick Garland to investigate if kidnapping and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act charges could be applied in this case.

Read More

  • Justice Department appeals for access to Trump's classified Mar-a-Lago documents
  • NYC man pleads guilty to murder of his mother for his $11K inheritance
  • 7 plead guilty to fraud costing the VA more than $100 million

Democrats seethe over migrant ‘political stunt’ at Martha’s Vineyard .
Senate Democrats are seething over what they say was a “political stunt” by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who have sent planeloads and busloads of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Washington, D.C. Democratic lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with DeSantis and other GOP governors for…Democratic lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with DeSantis and other GOP governors for transporting migrants to the liberal metropolises of Washington, New York and Chicago in an effort to pressure the Biden administration to pay more attention to illegal immigration.

See also