Texas Sheriff on DeSantis Stunt: 'What Was Done to These Folks Is Wrong'

Javier Salazar is investigating flights that brought migrants to Martha's Vineyard
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2022 1:30 AM CDT
Updated Sep 20, 2022 5:01 AM CDT
Texas Sheriff Investigating DeSantis' Migrant Flights
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar briefs the news media at the scene where an 18-wheeler was searched on the 2000 block of South General McMullen in San Antonio, Friday, July 1, 2022.   (Sam Owens/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

The sheriff of the Texas county from which 48 Venezuelan migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard last week is investigating the incident. Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar says the migrants were apparently "lured under false pretenses" onto charter flights, arranged by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and flown to the Massachusetts island, where no one was prepared for their arrival and the jobs they had been promised were not waiting. DeSantis says the flights were arranged as part of a Florida program to relocate migrants from that state. "I believe people need to be held accountable for it to the extent possible,” Salazar said, per the Miami Herald. “At this point, I’m not able to definitively say here’s the statute that they broke, either federal, state or local, but what I can tell you is it’s wrong. Just from a human rights perspective, what was done to these folks is wrong."

Salazar says he believes a fellow migrant from Venezuela was paid a "bird dog" fee to recruit the migrants from a resource center in San Antonio and convince them to spend two days at a hotel before flying first to Florida and then to Massachusetts, CNN reports. He says they were "exploited and hoodwinked" for political purposes before being "stranded" in Martha's Vineyard. DeSantis has insisted the program was voluntary and everyone knew where they were going. In response to Salazar's comments, a DeSantis rep said, "Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and 'left to fend for themselves.' Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected." Massachusetts has asked the Justice Dept. to investigate. (More Texas stories.)

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