Texas sheriff investigating flights to Martha’s Vineyard

Texas sheriff investigating flights to Martha’s Vineyard

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – The Texas sheriff on Monday opened an investigation into two migrant flights sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard, but he did not say what laws may have been broken to put 48 Venezuelans on private planes last week. from San Antonio.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, an elected Democrat, opposed the flights that became a political posturing in his city. But he said investigators have so far only spoken to attorneys representing some of the migrants and have not named any suspects who could be charged.

He also did not mention DeSantis at a news conference that appeared to be the first time a law enforcement official said they would look into the flights.

“I believe there is some criminal activity involved here,” Salazar said. “But right now we’re trying to keep an open mind and we’re going to investigate to find out what exact laws were broken if that happens.”

DeSantis’ office responded with a statement that said the immigrants had been given more options to succeed in Massachusetts.

“Immigrants are more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and left to fend for themselves,” said DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske. “Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that provided them with more resources, as we expected.”

The Venezuelan migrants who were flown to the wealthy Massachusetts island from San Antonio on Wednesday said they were told they were going to Boston. Julio Henriquez, a lawyer who met with some of the migrants, said they had “no idea where they were going or where they were.”

He said a Latina woman approached migrants at a city shelter in San Antonio and put them up at a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she visited daily with food and gift cards. She promised jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, according to Henriquez.

Salazar said the migrants were “predated” and “haunted”.

Some Democrats urged the Department of Justice to investigate the flights, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and US Rep. Joaquin Castro, whose district is San Antonio.

A federal investigation could be complicated, however. It is not clear whether anyone boarded buses or planes on purpose, or whether their civil rights were violated. The rights of asylum seekers who come to the US are also more limited because they are not citizens. However, the constitution protects them from discrimination based on race or national origin and from unfair treatment by the government.


Associated Press reporters Acacia Coronado and David Fischer in Miami contributed to this report.

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