Texas sheriff opens probe into migrant flights to Martha’s Winery By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Venezuelan migrants stand outdoors St. Andrew’s Church in Edgartown, Massachusetts, U.S. September 14, 2022. Ray Ewing/Winery Gazette/Handout through REUTERS/File Photograph

By Mica Rosenberg

(Reuters) -A Texas county sheriff is opening a felony investigation into flights that carried dozens of migrants to Martha’s Winery, Massachusetts, from Texas final week, an act that Florida’s Republican governor took credit score for and which the White Home dubbed a political stunt.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar mentioned at a information convention on Monday that round 50 migrants have been “lured beneath false pretences” on the streets of San Antonio, put up in a resort, bused to planes and “stranded unceremoniously in Martha’s Winery,” a rich trip island, “for nothing apart from a photograph op.”

San Antonio is the most important metropolis in Bexar County.

“What infuriates me most about this case is that we’ve 48 people who find themselves already on laborious instances,” Salazar mentioned. “I consider they have been preyed upon.”

Salazar, a Democrat, mentioned his transfer was not associated to his get together affiliation. “It is unsuitable from a human rights perspective. What was achieved to those people was unsuitable.”

A spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis mentioned immigrants have been “greater than keen to depart Bexar County after being deserted”.

“Florida gave them a possibility to hunt greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that supplied better sources for them, as we anticipated,” DeSantis’ communications director, Taryn Fenske, mentioned in an emailed assertion.


Salazar mentioned his workplace was working with advocacy organizations and personal attorneys representing the victims and will coordinate with federal authorities as wanted.

DeSantis, who’s up for re-election in November and seen as a potential presidential contender in 2024, claimed credit score for the 2 flights from San Antonio, whereas criticizing Democratic President Joe Biden’s dealing with of a document variety of crossings alongside the U.S.-Mexico border.

DeSantis joins Republican governors from Texas and Arizona in sending migrants to Democratic-controlled cities, together with buses of migrants from Texas dropped off close to the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington.

DeSantis mentioned final week that Florida paid to fly the migrants to Martha’s Winery as a result of many migrants who arrive in Florida come from Texas.

Republicans have been attempting to shift accountability for border crossers to Democratic leaders. The Biden administration mentioned the Republicans are utilizing migrants as “political pawns.”

Whereas particulars of how the flights have been organized and paid for stay unclear, one migrant advised Reuters he and his household have been recruited outdoors of a migrant useful resource heart in San Antonio and promised housing, help for 90 days, assist with work permits and English classes. He mentioned they have been shocked when their flight landed on an island finest referred to as a summer season retreat populated largely by prosperous, liberal People.

U.S. border brokers made practically 2 million migrant arrests by way of August on the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal yr, which started final October, in response to authorities knowledge launched Monday. They embody a rising variety of Cubans, Nicaraguans, Venezuelans and others who can’t be expelled to Mexico beneath a public well being order in place because the starting of the COVID pandemic. Many search to pursue asylum claims.

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