Democrats call for justice department to investigate migrant flights




  • In US
  • 2022-09-23 20:38:05Z
  • By The Guardian
Photograph: Ray Ewing/AP
Photograph: Ray Ewing/AP  

Democratic lawmakers have called on the US justice department to investigate whether Florida and Texas officials broke any federal law when they moved dozens of Venezuelan asylum seekers from Texas to Martha's Vineyard under allegedly false pretenses.

The letter from the congressional representatives Gerry Connolly, Sylvia Garcia, Ted Lieu and dozens of other Democrats followed the emergence of a report in which a 27-year-old Venezuelan said he was paid $200 by a mystery figure known as "Perla" to find people outside the San Antonio migrant center to board a flight.

The migrant, who was called Emmanuel, told the San Antonio Report that he gave Perla contact information for 10 other migrants.

"As the federal government retains jurisdiction over cases that involve interstate travel, we request the Department of Justice investigate whether any federal funds were used to operate a fraudulent scheme and request the Department of Justice make a determination as to whether officials in Texas and Florida violated federal law," the letter said.

At least one criminal investigation has already been opened into the situation by a Texas sheriff, and Connolly and others said the justice department should do the same.

Multiple media reports have depicted how the asylum seekers had been misled once they arrived in Texas and were incorrectly told they were being flown to Boston.

"It is alleged that immigration officials knowingly falsified mailing addresses for the migrants by selecting arbitrary homeless shelters across the United States, with the expectation that migrants would be required to contact the wrong agency," the letter said.

Details have not yet emerged about the planning and execution of the plan, which was spearheaded by the office of the Florida governor, Ron DeSantis.

DeSantis has defended his administration's actions and denied that migrants were misled.

The Democrats pointed out that the migrants who were used in what was called a political "stunt" were fleeing communism, authoritarianism and violence, having walked thousands of miles for what they called a "dignified life".

Justice department officials declined to comment.

Got a tip? Please contact Stephanie.Kirchgaessner@theguardian.com

COMMENTS

More Related News

Florida
Florida's average gas prices drop and are expected to decline further

Gas prices in Florida continue to slacken amid global jitters over the demand for oil and an increase in output from U.S. oil refineries.

Florida deputy killed after officer roommate
Florida deputy killed after officer roommate 'jokingly' fires gun he thought was unloaded, officials say
  • US
  • 2022-12-05 15:15:22Z

A 23-year-old Florida sheriff's deputy was fatally shot by his fellow deputy roommate over the weekend, in what the sheriff described as a "clearly dumb and ...

'Reckless actions': Deputy accused of shooting and killing fellow cop in Florida home
  • US
  • 2022-12-05 14:26:10Z

The sheriff called the 23-year-old's death "totally avoidable."

Airplane crash in Gulf of Mexico leaves 2 dead, 1 missing
Airplane crash in Gulf of Mexico leaves 2 dead, 1 missing
  • US
  • 2022-12-05 11:46:08Z

A private airplane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida coast Saturday night, with two people confirmed dead as authorities searched for a third...

Innocence Sold: Florida
Innocence Sold: Florida's legal system blurs the line between sex trafficking survivor and criminal, leaving lives ruined
  • US
  • 2022-12-04 11:00:00Z

Last of four parts. The girl wasn't talking. A Fort Lauderdale police officer was in 13-year-old Laura's hospital room questioning her after she had...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US