Analyzing the legitimacy of flying migrants DeSantis: NPR

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during a press conference announcing the expanded fee reduction for Florida commuters, Wednesday, September 7, 2022, in Miami, Fla.

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Rebecca Blackwell / AP

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis during a press conference announcing the expanded fee reduction for Florida commuters, Wednesday, September 7, 2022, in Miami, Fla.

Rebecca Blackwell / AP

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Despite calls for an investigation, and ongoing questions about whether Republican Governor Ron DeSantis violated laws transporting migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., the governor of Florida still refuses. accept your decision.

DeSantis described the flights as “voluntary,” while speaking at a news conference on Friday.

“They were given a good ride,” he said. “It’s a humanitarian thing to do.”

But Democrats have accused DeSantis of using migrants, who are believed to be mostly Venezuelans, to help him get re-elected governor in November and further build his political profile. to run for president in 2024.

Elizabeth Ricci, an immigration attorney based in Tallahassee, says: “We’re not talking about delivering boxes of shoes, we’re talking about people.

Flight records show the migrants boarded two chartered planes in San Antonio, Texas, and stopped at the Florida Panhandle. Then one landed in South Carolina and the other in North Carolina before reaching its final destination at Martha’s Vineyard.

Where does the money come from to blow away migrants?

As part of this year’s roughly $109.9 billion state budget – which has bipartisan support – the legislature has allocated $12 million “to facilitate the transportation of people unauthorized aliens out of Florida.”

“We’re going to spend every penny of it,” DeSantis said at Friday’s press conference. Public records show the state pays a private contractor, Vertol Systems Inc., an aircraft solutions provider, $615,000 to transport migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. That’s $12,300 per immigrant.

DeSantis said the Texas migrants had been identified as wanting to move to Florida before they signed the release to go to Massachusetts. If the releases were signed, it is not clear whether that was actual consent.

“What we’re trying to do is profile: ‘OK, who do you think is trying to get to Florida?’ “If they got in the car with two other people, we wouldn’t be able to detect it,” DeSantis said.

Since President Joe Biden took office, the number of migrants crossing the US southern border has increased dramatically. US Border Patrol is on its way a record 2 million apprehensions in a financial year.

DeSantis has complained that the situation places an unfair burden on southern border states, even though Florida is not one of them. However, he said that a large number of undocumented immigrants to Texas want to move to Florida.

“If they end up going to Florida, that’s going to impose a lot of costs on the community,” he said. “We’re trying to avoid that.”

Immigration law experts say DeSantis may have smuggled migrants

Several migrants arrived at Martha’s Vineyard last week tell NPR they were told they would be flown to Boston, where they could get their work papers expedited, but that’s not what they found upon arrival at Martha’s Vineyard. Instead, local churches, homeless shelters and other aid groups have had to scramble to get them because they were not informed of their arrival.

Tallahassee-based immigration attorney Elizabeth Ricci explains that there is a “good faith argument” that luring migrants onto planes with the promise of employment makes them victims of crime. . And that means they can automatically qualify for a visa, she said.

Ricci explains: “Such a solicitation, regardless of whether you sign a waiver or not, is a scam and it is part of the definition of human trafficking. “I think everyone on those planes had a legitimacy case as a direct result of being transported by the governor.”

Based on an analysis US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ federal immigration law: “Smugglers and abusers often use lack of immigration status to exploit and control victims.” They “may attract individuals with false promises of jobs and a better life.”

Ricci said she believes that’s exactly what DeSantis did. If law enforcement agrees, that could make migrants eligible for a special visa that protects victims of human trafficking. “It is ironic for these families to end up legalizing and becoming citizens as a result of his actions.”

DeSantis . Immigration Records

Bringing migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is the latest action DeSantis said he has taken to try to limit the number of undocumented migrants arriving in the state.

In 2019, DeSantis signed into law a measure banning sanctuary cities where local agencies have limited cooperation with federal immigration agencies.

Since then, DeSantis has signed legislation requiring law enforcement to work with federal immigration to report undocumented immigrants. Employers and public contractors must also verify the immigration status of workers. And state agencies may not work with organizations that help resettle undocumented immigrants.

California Governor Gavin Newsom and Florida’s sole Democratic cabinet member Nikki Fried have asked the US Department of Justice to investigate DeSantis’ transportation of migrants out of Florida.

DeSantis disputes claims that the migrants were “seduced” to board a plane bound for Massachusetts. “The people who signed the contract, they gave them a release declaration for them to sign, they gave them a package with a map of Martha’s Vineyard.”

Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist, who will run to oust DeSantis in November, has made his debut a digital advertisement accused DeSantis of “putting politics above people’s lives.”

“Mocking at their fight for freedom – it makes me sick,” Crist said in the ad. “But it’s not surprising, because that’s who he is.”

But, a recent NPR / Ipsos . Poll shows that a majority of Americans – including three-quarters of Republicans – say it is partly or completely true that the United States is “going through an invasion” on the southern border.

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