Venezuelan-American community outrage over DeSantis sending immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard
DORAL, Florida. – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the decision to charter two planes full of undocumented immigrants to Massachusetts is about all communities in this country sharing the burden of immigration.
But some wonder how exactly his administration convinced these migrants to board a plane for Martha’s Vineyard, an island known to be popular among the wealthy elite.
“There is absolutely no infrastructure at Martha’s Vineyard to support migrants, there is no history of immigration at Martha’s Vineyard,” said Venezuelan activist Juan Correa Villalonga. “And now he drags them like cattle from state to state, starves them all day and drops them off with excuses they were going to Boston and lies that they were going to get a job and a place to live?
Questions also arise about how Florida officials carried out the operation and what exactly they told the migrants.
NPR reports that a woman approached the Venezuelans outside a San Antonio shelter, telling them they would be going to Boston, where they could receive expedited work documents and be offered housing.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried sent a letter to the Justice Department late Thursday, calling for an investigation into what she calls political human trafficking. It reads: “An investigation is needed to understand who these immigrants are, how they were transported across state lines, and whether their rights were violated.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre discussed the situation Thursday during an interview with the media.
“Migrants, including children, who arrived at Martha’s Vineyard were misled about where they were being taken and what would be provided to them upon arrival,” she said.
Venezuelan activist Helen Villalonga likened the governor’s actions to coyotes tricking migrants in Latin America into human trafficking.
“It is highly unlikely to rise to the level of a criminal human trafficking investigation or subsequent prosecution,” said Erick Cruz, a lawyer who works on human trafficking cases.
Cruz says this is because human trafficking would require an element of personal profit through exploitation.
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