According to the authorities of the US state of California, it is the second time in four days that migrants have been transferred from one state to another – from Texas to the West Coast – on private flights sponsored by Republican authorities. The asylum seekers would have been approached by people who spoke Spanish and who promised them work in the capital of California. Now, the Prosecutor’s Office is investigating the flight managers, while state officials remain silent.
What seemed to be the opportunity to start the American dream turned into false hope for a group of migrants seeking asylum in El Paso, Texas, a border town between Mexico and the United States.
The group, mostly from South America, was picked up on Monday June 5 by a jet private from the state of Florida, and as California Attorney General Rob Bonta assured in local media, the migrants would have heard job promises from two Spanish-speaking women before being picked up by the aircraft and transferred to the US west coast state. USA
After agreeing, the two women traveled with them overland from El Paso to Deming, New Mexico, to meet two men who joined the caravan to Sacramento, California.
The office of Democratic New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham did not provide details about why the migrants were taken from Texas to New Mexico before being transferred to California.
“Governor Lujan Grisham stresses, once again, the urgent need for thoughtful and comprehensive federal immigration reform that is rooted in a humanitarian response that is sensitive to border communities,” the governor’s spokeswoman Caroline Sweeney said Monday.
Prosecutor Bonta and other public officials denounced the event without skimping on accusations. For them, this activity could be a kidnapping scenario under the great umbrella of the migrant relocation program that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis himself has repeatedly mentioned to “control” the flow of people essentially from southern countries and arriving on US soil.
“To see the leaders and governments of other states and the state of Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis, acting with cruelty and inhumanity and moral bankruptcy and being mean and petty and hurtful and harmful to vulnerable asylum seekers is boiling hot,” Bonta said in an interview.
“Instead of being received with compassion and care… [these migrants] were exploited and manipulated.”
— Jose Diaz-Balart Reports (@JDBalartMSNBC) June 6, 2023
The governor of California also spoke out on the matter and lashed out directly at DeSantis, calling him a “pathetic little man.” He also cited one of the crimes included in the state Penal Code.
“Any person who, by force, or by any other means of instilling fear, robs or takes, or detains, detains, or arrests any person in this state, and takes him or her to another country, state, or county, or to another part of the same county, is guilty of kidnapping.” the article reads.
DeSantis, for his part, has remained silent on this situation, as he and other state officials did early last year when they brought 49 Venezuelan migrants to the exclusive Massachusetts enclave of Martha’s Vineyard, ferrying them on private planes from a refuge in San Antonio (Texas).
Precisely, a Texas sheriff recommended criminal charges this Monday for the two flights to Martha’s Vineyard in 2022, explaining that situations like these should not be allowed without “someone paying the consequences” of their actions.
“Of course, what is important is what is actually being told to the individuals and we have credible indications that what happened was false and misleading,” prosecutor Bonta told a California television network.
Who takes care of the migrants?
According to prosecutor Bonta, who was personally with the asylum seekers, 16 of them come from Venezuela, two from Colombia, one from Mexico and one from Nicaragua. All aged between 21 and 30 years.
The lawyer explained that the group of migrants was left at the headquarters of the diocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Sacramento, a place where various religious groups have assisted them with lodging, food, clothing and cell phones to contact their relatives.
The mayor of Sacramento, Darrell Steinberg, has also been at the forefront of the situation and assured in a press conference on Tuesday that “Sacramento should be a model for the rest of the state and the rest of the nation.”
U.S. immigration officials had already processed them in Texas and given them court dates for their asylum cases, and neither had planned to make it to California, said Eddie Carmona, campaign manager for PICO California, one of religious groups that help migrants in Sacramento.
And while a person with asylum seeker status can change the location of their court appearancesmany are reluctant to try it, preferring instead to stick with the initial court date assigned to them.
However, it is still unclear if the newcomers to Sacramento plan to stay in California or eventually look elsewhere.
Four of those who arrived on the first flight on Friday have already been picked up by friends or relatives, but the rest remain in the care of local advocacy groups.
DeSantis, migration and his candidacy for the Presidency
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is seeking his party’s nomination for President, has been a fierce critic of the Biden Administration’s federal immigration policy and has proudly boasted of past cases in which Migrants were ferried from conservative-ruled states to Democratic-led states in the hope of seeing how their leaders handled the situation.
Against this background, Florida lawmakers have in the past approved state funds to transport migrants to other states, even if they never set foot in Florida, and carried out similar flights from Texas to Massachusetts in 2022.
Operations that have been protected under state legislative processes in which millions of dollars have been guaranteed so that multiple contractors are in charge of said flights.
And it is that in this particular case, in 2022 DeSantis ordered Republican legislators to create a program dedicated to the relocation of migrants.
The law was designed to circumvent questions about the legality of transporting people on a flight that originated in Texas, and it specified that Florida could transport migrants “to any part of the country.”
The transfer this Monday, of which those responsible are still unknown, could be a direct blow from DeSantis to the California governor, Gavin Newton, who, although he has not mentioned plans to reach the White House, has a history of contrasts. politicians with DeSantis, contrasts that have led to public clashes in the past.
On the campaign trail, DeSantis has been willing to lash out at progressive politics in Democratic strongholds like New York and California, arguing that Florida’s population boom in recent years has been fueled by people fleeing state policies. blue.
DeSantis is currently positioned as the strongest Republican alternative to former President Donald Trump in the hotly contested GOP primary, though Trump maintains a large lead in the polls leading up to the race for the nomination.
With AP, EFE, and local media
Source: France 24