The high-profile migrants from Venezuela who were flown to the US holiday island of Martha's Vineyard are defending themselves with a lawsuit against the responsible governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. They accuse the Republican and the US state Department of Transportation of using the plight of vulnerable people for its "illegal purposes" and "political interests," according to a lawsuit filed in a Boston court on Tuesday (local time). They're seeking a jury trial and damages.
The 50 or so Venezuelan migrants and the immigrant rights organization Alianza Americas have accused DeSantis and other Florida officials of luring them with "false promises and misrepresentations" of jobs and housing. The plaintiffs fled socialist-ruled Venezuela in a desperate attempt "to protect themselves and their families from gang, police and state-sponsored violence and the repression of political dissidents," the class-action lawsuit says. They deserved just as much dignity and compassion as anyone else. DeSantis also violated the exclusive jurisdiction of the US government with his action.
Governor DeSantis had several dozen migrants flown unannounced last week to Martha's Vineyard in the state of Massachusetts. The island is known as a posh resort and destination for democratic politicians. US President John F. Kennedy vacationed there, Bill Clinton vacations on Martha's Vineyard, and Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry own homes there.
A Texas sheriff announced an investigation into the case on Monday. "I believe that someone came from outside of our state and preyed on these people and lured them with promises of a better life," said Democratic Bexar County Police Commissioner Javier Salazar. "As far as we know, 48 migrants were lured into staying in a hotel for several days under false pretenses." Then they were taken away by plane.
The US government had sharply criticized the procedure and described it as "inhuman". DeSantis, on the other hand, announced that there should be further actions. He is currently fighting for his re-election.
In recent months, other Republican governors have also sent large numbers of migrants to democratic regions of the country in protest against what they consider to be the lax migration policy of the government of President Joe Biden, a Democrat. Texas Governor Greg Abbott had two buses full of migrants brought near the residence of US Vice President Kamala Harris in the capital Washington.