Newsom Threatens DeSantis After 'Immoral' Migrant Move

More migrants allegedly sent by Sunshine State dropped off in Sacramento
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 5, 2023 8:32 AM CDT
Updated Jun 6, 2023 3:30 AM CDT
California AG Slams Florida for Apparently Sending Migrants
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference on Friday, May 12, 2023, in Sacramento, California. On Thursday, May 25, 2023, Newsom will update his plan to move the state away from fossil fuels.   (Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee via AP, File)
UPDATE Jun 6, 2023 3:30 AM CDT

After 16 South American migrants were allegedly sent from Florida to California on Friday, California officials say Florida did the same thing with a group of 20 migrants Monday. In response, California Gov. Gavin Newsom appeared to threaten DeSantis, whom he called a "small, pathetic man," with kidnapping charges, the Guardian reports. California's AG similarly accused Florida of "state-sanctioned kidnapping" if it is indeed proved to be behind the flights. Meanwhile, a Texas sheriff has recommended criminal charges for a Texas district attorney allegedly involved in the migrant flights DeSantis arranged from Texas to Martha's Vineyard last year, the Miami Herald reports.

Jun 5, 2023 8:32 AM CDT

Rob Bonta, California's attorney general, said the state of Florida appears to have arranged for a group of South American migrants to be dropped off outside a Sacramento church. "While this is still under investigation, we can confirm these individuals were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida," Bonta said in a statement late Saturday, per the AP. The documents indicate the Florida Division of Emergency Management coordinated the flights, Bonta told the Los Angeles Times. Florida paid contractor Vertol Systems Company $1.56 million to fly migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, last year.

The 16 migrants who arrived in Sacramento on Friday are from Colombia and Venezuela. They entered the US through Texas, were next transported to New Mexico, and were then flown by a charter plane to California's capital, where they were dropped off in front of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, California officials said. They were approached outside a migrant center in El Paso, Texas, by people who offered them jobs and travel assistance, said Eddie Carmona of PICO California, a faith-based group helping the migrants.

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The migrants didn't know they were being taken to Sacramento and arrived with few belongings, he said. Vertol Systems and the Florida Division of Emergency Management didn't immediately respond Sunday to emails seeking comment. Bonta noted that he's evaluating whether violations of civil or criminal law took place. "While we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice—it is immoral and disgusting," Bonta said in a statement.

(More migrants stories.)

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