27/09/2022

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Migrant crisis – live: Biden responds to reports DeSantis has sent migrant flight to his home in Delaware

After Florida Governor Ron DeSantis arranged flights for 48 mostly Venezeulan migrants from Texas to Massachusetts last week, immigration attorneys and elected officials are demanding criminal investigations, and one Texas sheriff is probing allegations that the group was “lured” to planes with false information.

Delaware agencies, meanwhile, are preparing for another potential flight due to arrive on Tuesday near President Joe Biden’s beach home in Rehoboth Beach.

State agencies and community groups are preparing humanitarian aid.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at an event on Tuesday he “cannot confirm” another flight of migrants is leaving Texas for Delaware, though he criticised president Biden, who he said “created a crisis” at the border.

Governor DeSantis and his aides and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have defended sending migrants to Democratic-leading states and cities in protest of what they characterise as the president’s “open border” policy.

Lawyers for one group of migrants, who were moved to a larger shelter operation in Cape Cod on Friday, argue that they were deceived with false promises of financial aid and housing but were instead dropped off unannounced on Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Key points

  • Migrants received false brochures promising refugee aid

  • Texas sheriff announces investigation into DeSantis flights

  • Martha’s Vineyard migrants’ lawyers request criminal investigation

  • Mother seeking asylum dies by suicide in NYC shelter

  • Migrant stunt putting Florida legislative seats in play on state and local levels

Biden taunts DeSantis over reported migrant flight to Delaware: ‘He should come visit, we have a beautiful shoreline’

18:42 , Josh Marcus

President Joe Biden responded to reports that Florida Gov Ron DeSantis may be sending another plane of migrants to the northeast, with the latest flight scheduled to arrive in Delaware near the US president’s home.

In unscripted remarks to reporters after speaking on campaign finance, Mr Biden goaded Mr DeSantis over the political stunt.

“He should come visit, we have a beautiful shoreline,” Mr Biden told reports when asked to respond to Mr DeSantis’s latest gambit.

Alex Woodward is following the White House’s response.

Biden taunts DeSantis over reported migrant flight to Delaware

ICYMI: Florida and Texas migrant transports moved over a dozen kids

18:30 , Josh Marcus

The migrant flights and bus trips from Florida and Texas to liberal locales are controversial for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the large number of children on board.

By The Independent’s count, over a dozen kids were aboard the transports.

Here’s our look at how children got ensnared in the immigration stunts of governors Ron DeSantis and Greg Abbott.

Florida and Texas migrant transports moved over a dozen kids, including one-year-old

White House preparing for DeSantis migrant flights to Delaware as state agencies ready response

18:17 , Josh Marcus

The White House is coordinating with state officials and aid groups preparing for the potential arrival of a plane with migrants sent from Texas to coastal Delaware near the beach home of President Joe Biden.

The flight, due to arrive on Tuesday afternoon, could mark the second flight within a week organised by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration to move people seeking asylum in San Antonio to northeastern towns.

“We are coordinating closely with state officials and local service providers who are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters.

Alex Woodward is following the story for The Independent.

White House preparing for DeSantis migrant flights to Delaware

Ron DeSantis tears into Biden and avoids comment on rumoured Delaware flight during event

18:13 , Josh Marcus

Florida governor Ron DeSantis tore into Joe Biden during an event on Tuesday.“He inherited a border that wasn’t like this,” Mr DeSantis said. “He has created a crisis.”

The Republican denied that the migrant flights he sent to Martha’s Vineyard were a “stunt” and called on Mr Biden to reinstate Trump administration policies like Remain in Mexico, which stranded tens of thousands of legally protected asylum seekers in squalid camps on the Mexican side of the border for months, where they were the targets of exploitation.

“The biggest stunt was Biden coming in as president and reversing Trump’s policies just so he could virtue-signal that he was against Trump,” Mr DeSantis said. “The impact has been devastating.”

Mr DeSantis also said he “cannot confirm” another migrant flight is headed from Texas for Delaware.

The Republican governor claimed Democrats were being hypocritical about the flights, when they have tried to downplay the challenge of the high numbers of migrants who have crossed the border this year.

“I didn’t hear any outrage about that,” Mr DeSantis said. “The only thing I hear them getting about is you have 50 that end up in Marth’s Vineyard. Then they get really upset. And I’m sorry, those migrants were being treated horribly by Biden. They were hungry, homeless, they had no opportunity at all.”

Later in the event, Mr DeSantis acknowledged that Florida itself hasn’t had much trouble with high immigration numbers, even describing migrants entering the state in mere “onesie-twosies”

“We’re not seeing mass movements of them into Florida,” Mr DeSantis said.

Delaware braces for a migrant flight of its own

17:50 , Josh Marcus

Cities and states across the country have struggled to respond to surprise flights and buses full of migrants sent from Republican border states. Delaware could be next.

The governor’s office and community groups were preparing on Tuesday for an influx of asylum-seekers, after reports of a plane scheduled to leave Texas and land near Joe Biden’s beach home in Rehoboth Beach.

“Our teams at [Delaware Emergency Management Agency] and [Delaware Department of Health and Social Services] are working with community organizations and other partners to make sure that migrants who arrive here have the support that they need,” a spokesperson for governor John Carney’s office told Delaware Online on Tuesday.

Earlier this week, senator Ted Cruz singled out the president’s vacation home as a target for another migrant transport.

Governor Ron DeSantis press conference starting now

17:37 , Josh Marcus

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is currently holding an event in Manatee County to tout his budget and tax agenda, but there’s a chance he’ll address the growing scandal of the migrant flights his government funded to Martha’s Vineyard.

You can watch the live stream of the event here, and we will be monitoring for updates.

Migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard were given brochures with false promises of aid and jobs. Who made them?

17:33 , Josh Marcus

Before they boarded planes bound for Martha’s Vineyard, a group of about 50 migrants in San Antonio, Texas, were handed a trifold brochure titled “Massachusetts Refugee Benefits.”

A front cover included a photograph of a Massachusetts Department of Transportation highway sign reading “Massachusetts Welcomes You” above an illustration of the state.

On the back, printed in English and Spanish was the name and phone number and website for the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, a state agency that aids resettlement agencies and works with community groups to provide assistance to newly arrived refugees.

But the agency had nothing to do with the flier. The flier was mocked up to look like a government document, falsely suggesting that the group of mostly Venzeulan people seeking asylum in the US would be eligible for cash assistance, housing, food, job training, job interviews and other benefits.

Alex Woodward investigates.

Migrants were given brochures with false promises of aid. Who made them?

05:58 , Shweta Sharma

We are closing the live coverage of the blog. But you can find news reports on the topic on our website.

Thank you for staying with us.

Explained: Are the migrants staying legally in US

05:46 , Shweta Sharma

Tens of thousands of migrants who cross the border illegally from Mexico are allowed to stay in the US temporarily.

After being arrested are released in the US each month with notices to appear in immigration court to pursue asylum or on humanitarian parole with requirements to report regularly to immigration authorities.

Migrants may seek asylum if they enter the country illegally under US and international law, and US authorities have broad authority to grant parole based on individual circumstances.They must keep a current address with authorities, who schedule appointments in a city with the nearest court or immigration office. They must apply separately for permission to work.Last year, the backlog in immigration courts mushroomed to more than 1.9 million cases, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.To avoid massive overcrowding in detention facilities, the administration began releasing many migrants on humanitarian parole.

Ron DeSantis’s office says immigrants were willing to leave

05:15 , Shweta Sharma

A spokesperson for Florida governor Ron DeSantis said immigrants have been “more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned” after a criminal investigation was opened.

“Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected,” DeSantis‘ communications director, Taryn Fenske, said in an emailed statement.

“Unless the MA national guard has abandoned these individuals, they have been provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing.”

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar’s office announced on 19 September that his office is working with “attorneys who are representing the victims as well as advocacy organizations regarding this incident.”

Migrants from Venezuela soared in August

04:34 , Shweta Sharma

A spokesperson for Florida governor Ron DeSantis said immigrants have been “more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned” amid a criminal investigation.

“Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected,” DeSantis‘ communications director, Taryn Fenske, said in an emailed statement.

“Unless the MA national guard has abandoned these individuals, they have been provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing.”

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar’s office announced on 19 September that his office is working with “attorneys who are representing the victims as well as advocacy organisations regarding this incident.”

Area schools prepared for migrant students sheltering at Cape Cod base

04:30 , Alex Woodward

The Bourne Public Schools district told The Cape Cod Times that officials have been in touch with Joint Base Cape Cod – where a group of migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard now are sheltering – about migrant children attending nearby schools.

“While no final decisions have been made regarding the status of the children, the Bourne Public Schools are ready, willing and able to provide a public school education to these children should the need arise,” Superintedent Kerri Anne Quinlan-Zhou told the newspaper.

It is not clear how many children are currently housed at the shelter.

The district has previously served children at the base, including military families and children who were displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The district’s relationship with Joint Base Cape Cod “is extremely positive, and we are familiar with the process of collaborating with families residing there,” Ms Quinlan-Zhou told the newspaper.

ICYMI: New York could use cruise ships to house migrants sent north by Republican states

03:30 , Alex Woodward

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said he is considering whether he can use cruise ships to temporarily house migrants sent by Republican governors to his state in protest of perceived “sanctuary” cities that GOP officials have accused of fueling migration to the US.

“We’re examining everything, from the legality of using any type of cruise ship for temporary housing. We’re looking at everything to see how do we deal with this,” Mr Adams told CBS2.

New York mayor may use cruise ships to house migrants being sent north by Republicans

Migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard were given brochures with false promises of aid and jobs. Who made them?

03:00 , Alex Woodward

Before they boarded planes bound for Martha’s Vineyard, a group of about 50 migrants in San Antonio, Texas, were handed a trifold brochure titled “Massachusetts Refugee Benefits.”

A front cover included a photograph of a Massachusetts Department of Transportation highway sign reading “Massachusetts Welcomes You” above an illustration of the state.

On the back, printed in English and Spanish was the name and phone number and website for the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, a state agency that aids resettlement agencies and works with community groups to provide assistance to newly arrived refugees.

But the agency had nothing to do with the flier. The flier was mocked up to look like a government document, falsely suggesting that the group of mostly Venzeulan people seeking asylum in the US would be eligible for cash assistance, housing, food, job training, job interviews and other benefits.

So much remains unclear about the migrants’ journey from Texas to Massachusetts, how Florida officials are identifying and collecting migrants in other states to be sent to so-called “sanctuary” states and cities, and how state funding earmarked for Governor Ron DeSantis’s maneuver is paying for it from several states away.

Lawyers are demanding answers.

The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports:

Migrants were given brochures with false promises of aid. Who made them?

ICYMI: Florida Democrats demand answers from DeSantis

02:30 , Alex Woodward

Florida state Rep Fentrice Driskell criticised Governor Ron DeSantis for using the state as a “stepping stone for his political ambitions” after using state funds to find migrants in Texas to ship to Massachusetts.

Democratic officials told reporters on Monday that they were still working to determine how a state budget line for $12m to remove migrants living in Florida has allowed for the governor to contract with people in Texas to remove people from that state.

The group of mostly Venezeulan migrants flown out of Texas last week already had been processed after being detained after arriving at the US-Mexico and were waiting for their asylum cases to be heard.

Lawyers groups have blasted the governor for disrupting their immigration cases by putting them on planes and sending them 2,000 miles away.

Migrant families ‘in good health and good spirits’, state lawmaker says

01:30 , Alex Woodward

State Rep Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha’s Vineyard in the state legislature, said he met with migrant families who arrived on the island last week and have since been moved to a larger shelter facility in Cape Cod.

“Every person I spoke with was in good health and good spirits. Every family has their own space. Every individual has their own room, though friends are choosing to room together,” he said.

“they expressed deep gratitude for how well they are being taken care of,” he added in his update on Twitter. “In the dining hall, there is not only food but tables lining the walls where humanitarian organizations, legal services, and interpreters are working to connect the families with every resource they need.”

He said children were playing, and one child will meet with a pediatrician “for the first time in their life” tomorrow.

“Deeply grateful to our community and state for showing these families the dignity [and] respect they deserve,” he said.

Texas sheriff to investigate Florida for flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

01:00 , Alex Woodward

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar’s office announced on 19 September that his office is working with “attorneys who are representing the victims as well as advocacy organizations” after migrants alleged that they were coerced or lured with false promises before boarding planes to Martha’s Vineyard.

The investigation marks the first law enforcement agency to launch a probe following demands from immigration attorneys and advocates and lawmakers to investigate allegations of fraud and kidnapping, among other charges.

“What infuriates me the most about this case is that here we have 48 people who are already on hard times, they are here legally in the country at that point,” Sheriff Salazar said during a press conference on Monday.

“They have every right to be where they are, and I believe they were preyed upon – somebody came from our of state, preyed upon these people, lured them with promises of a better life, which is what they were absolutely looking for, with the knowledge that they were going to cling to whatever hope they could be offered… to just be exploited and hoodwinked into making this trip,” he said.

Texas sheriff to investigate Florida for flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

ICYMI: Mother seeking US asylum dies in NYC shelter, mayor says

Tuesday 20 September 2022 00:30 , Alex Woodward

A woman who fled to the US to seek asylum died while in a New York City shelter over the weekend, according to Mayor Eric Adams.

It was unclear if the woman was part of the group of migrants who had been moved to the city as part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s Lone Star Operation, a scheme that credits sending 2,500 migrants to New York City since 5 August and has sent several more thousand to Chicago and Washington, DC since it began back in April.

But Mayor Adams said the woman was “traumatised by this whole experience” and said that the “failure was the governors that sent people on multi-day bus rides.”

“We didn’t fail in the city. This city is helping people,” he said.

The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm reports:

‘Young’ mother seeking US asylum dies in NYC shelter, mayor says

NEW: Texas county sheriff will open criminal probe into migrant flights

Monday 19 September 2022 23:46 , Alex Woodward

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced on Monday that his office has opened an investigation into whether a group of migrants were “lured” from a migrant centre in San Antonio before they were flown to Massachusetts, “where they were ultimately left to fend for themselves in Martha’s Vineyard.”

“We are also preparing to work with any federal agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction, should the need arise,” he added.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s lead over Beto O’Rourke stretches to nine points in new poll

Monday 19 September 2022 22:30 , Alex Woodward

Republican incumbent Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s lead over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke has stretched to nine percentage points, according to a new poll from the University of Texas at Tyler and The Dallas Morning News.

Forty-seven per cent of registered voters polled in the survey selected Abbot, while 38 per cent picked O’Rourke.

The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe breaks it down:

Texas Gov Greg Abbott’s lead over Beto O’Rourke stretches to nine points in new poll

While DeSantis defends shipping migrants, his campaign releases anti-immigrant campaign ad

Monday 19 September 2022 22:00 , Alex Woodward

Despite persistent right-wing stump speeches and talking points falsely linking immigrants to crime rates, consensus reporting in peer-reviewed research finds that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crime than US citizens, and immigrants with legal permission to remain in the US are even less likely to do so.

But while his administartion continues to defend shipping migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard – an island 2,000 miles from where their asylum cases are being heard, out of immediate reach of immigration advocacy groups and refugee assistance – Governor Ron DeSantis’s campaign released an ad linking “illegal immigration” to the death of a Florida resident.

“My child was killed by someone who should not have been here,” a woman says in the video.

Human trafficking victims and a one-month-old: Florida and Texas migrant transports moved over a dozen kids

Monday 19 September 2022 21:30 , Alex Woodward

Last week, the Republican governors of Florida and Texas sent well over a dozen migrant children, including one as young as one month old, on highly controversial plane and bus trips to liberal locales across the East Coast.

The children were among the over 100 people seeking asylum, many of them Venezuelan dispatched to Martha’s Vineyard, New York City, and Washington DC.

The Independent’s Josh Marcus reports:

Florida and Texas migrant transports moved over a dozen kids, including one-year-old

‘Wanted: Seeking female. Spotted near migrant resource center. Goes by Perla’

Monday 19 September 2022 20:45 , Alex Woodward

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest Latino civil rights organisation in the nation, is circulating “Wanted” fliers in San Antonio seeking information about a woman that a group of migrants sent from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard said deceived them with false promises of employment and aid.

There is a $5,000 for information leading to her “identification, arrest and conviction.”

The group said she is wanted for “aiding and abetting in a conspiracy to have innocent refugees commit crimes by offering work” without legal work permits, “lying and deceiving” them while being used as “political props,” and “fraud and possible civil rights violations.”

Website for company hired by Florida for migrant flight has gone down

Monday 19 September 2022 20:22 , Alex Woodward

Vertol Systems Company was given a check for $615,000 on 8 September by Florida’s Department of Transportation.

The reason: “RELOCATION PROGRAM OF UNAUTHORIZED ALIENS”, according to state records.

The Oregon-based aviation company has divisions in Florida.

One week later, a group of roughly 50 migrants were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a project organised by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s administration.

By Monday, the company’s website was no longer operation.

Requests for comment from The Independent – including how the company uses state funds – have not been returned.

Massachusetts refugee office did not print or distribute brochures, agency tells The Independent

Monday 19 September 2022 20:07 , Alex Woodward

The Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, which has a number and website on a brochure-like document given to migrants on the Texas to Martha’s Vineyard flight, had nothing to do with printing or distributing them, the agency’s chief of staff told The Independent.

“These brochures are not ours and not sure who prints or distributes them, at this point,” according to a statement.

 (Lawyers for Civil Rights)

(Lawyers for Civil Rights)

ICYMI: Texas sends migrants to VP’s residence twice within one week

Monday 19 September 2022 19:30 , Alex Woodward

A group of migrants were bused to the Naval Observatory in Washington DC, vice president Kamala Harris’s residence, for the second time within a week on Saturday.

In a recent interview with Vice, Ms Harris called the stunts orchestrated by Texas Governor Greg Abbott “ the height of irresponsibility” and “frankly, a dereliction of duty, when you are an elected leader, to play those kinds of games with human life.”

Migrants sent to VP’s residence from Texas for second time this week

Donald Trump reportedly enraged that DeSantis stole his ‘idea’

Monday 19 September 2022 19:00 , Alex Woodward

Rolling Stone reported that former president Trump has reportedly fumed over Governor DeSantis using the migrant flights to prop up his national profile ahead of a potential bid for the White House.

Trump rages that DeSantis’s Martha’s Vineyard stunt was his ‘idea’

US attorney pressing DOJ for response to DeSantis stunt, lawmaker says

Monday 19 September 2022 18:30 , Alex Woodward

Massachusetts State Rep Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha’s Vineyard, said he has spoken with US Attorney Rachael Rollins about a federal inquirity into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s stunt.

Ms Rollins told him she “is pushing for a response” from the US Department of Justice, he said.

Philosophy professor compares DeSantis stunt to ‘mini-ethnic cleansing with genocidal precedence’

Monday 19 September 2022 18:15 , Alex Woodward

David Livingstone Smith, a professor of philosophy at the University of New England who has studied the politics and legacies of demunaisation, told The Guardian that Ron DeSantis’s move to send a group of roughly 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard is comparable to a “mini-ethnic cleansing with genocidal precedence”.

“Of course this is not genocide, but it is somewhat reminiscent of awful things that have happened in the past,” he told the newspaper. “As soon as you start treating human beings as undesirable problems to dump on others, you are in very dangerous territory. … What frightens me most actually is that someone who does these sort of acts is capable of doing much worse.”

The author of Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization said DeSantis is “intimating that this is an ethnic cleansing operation, that he will take these so-called undesirables and pick them up and dump them in the lands of [his] political enemies.”

New York mayor may use cruise ships to house migrants being sent north by Republican states

Monday 19 September 2022 18:00 , Alex Woodward

New York City Mayor Eric Adams is considering is examining the legality of acquiring temporary housing for migrants sent to his city, including the potential use of cruise ships docked along the Hudson River.

“We’re examining everything, from the legality of using any type of cruise ship for temporary housing. We’re looking at everything to see how do we deal with this,” Mr Adams told CBS2.

New York mayor may use cruise ships to house migrants being sent north by Republicans

Mother seeking asylum dies by suicide in NYC shelter

Monday 19 September 2022 17:25 , Alex Woodward

A mother seeking asylum in the US died by suicide in a New York City shelter on Sunday, according to city officials.

“The thousands of asylum seekers we have seen arrive in our city came to this country seeking a better life. Sadly though, yesterday, an asylum seeker in one of our facilities took her own life,” Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement on Monday.

It was not immediately clear when she entered the shelter or whether she was among a group of migrants who were recently bused to the city by Republican governors.

Mayor Adams, addressing the suicide during an unrelated press conferenec on Monday, blamed Governors Abott and DeSantis, and said the woman was “traumatised by this whole experience” and that “the failure was the governors that sent people on multi-day bus rides.”

“We didn’t fail in the city,” he said. “The city is helping people.”

Civil rights group offers reward for information leading to ‘Perla’

Monday 19 September 2022 17:01 , Alex Woodward

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the country’s oldest and largest Latino civil rights organisation, has issued a nationwide plea for information leading to the identity of a woman that migrants identified as Perla who allegedly enticed them to board flights from Texas to Massachusetts with promises of jobs and housing.

The group has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to her identification and arrest.

“LULAC is taking this action of offering a $5,000 reward to help stop the deliberate and possible illegal actions of deceiving people by enticement,” president Domingo Garcia said in a statement.

The group has asked people with information to message domingo@dgley.com.

Florida Democrats demand DeSantis stop ‘inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars’

Monday 19 September 2022 16:35 , Alex Woodward

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers approved a massive state budget document with a $12m line that allows the DeSantis administration to move migrants out of the state.

Democratic officials blasted the inclusion of the programme during debate earlier this year.

Democratic state lawmakers Evan Jenne and Fentrice Driskell wrote in a statement to Republican leadership to “formally object” to the use of state funds to send migrants in Texas to Massachusetts, the “inappropriate use of taxpayer dollars” for “political purposes”.

“The legislature gave me $12m. We are going to spend every penny of that to make sure we are protecting the people of the state of Florida,” DeSantis said last week.

State records show the Florida Department of Transportation paid Oregon-based company Vertol Systems Company $615,000 on 8 September as part of the “relocation program of unauthorized aliens.”

It is unclear how the DeSantis administartion targeted migrants in another state. The Independent has requested comment from Vertol Systems Company and requested additional details about the use of state funds in its operations.

Did Ron DeSantis break the law by sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard?

Monday 19 September 2022 16:15 , Alex Woodward

Immigration attorneys say migrants were falsely promised jobs and expedited legal status. Officials suggested they were kidnapped. Legal analysts argue the stunt is a moral failure, but was a crime committed? The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports:

Did DeSantis break the law by sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard?

Migrants received false brochures promising refugee aid they were ineligible for

Monday 19 September 2022 15:42 , Alex Woodward

An allegedly false brochure advertising “refugee” services was provided to migrants who were flown by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

A copy of a brochure obtained by Popular Information provided by Boston group Lawyers for Civil Rights, which is representing 30 migrants, advertises benefits for refugees who have been referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and are authorised to live in the US. They are not available to the migrants , who were awaiting their asylum claim cases when they were put on the planes.

Last week, migrants reported receiving similar promises of financial and employment assistance from a woman who helped them board the flights.

Lawyers for Civil Rights has pressed the US attorney’s office in Boston and the state attorney general to investigate the “numerous false promises to [the group’s] clients — including of work opportunities, schooling for their children, and immigration assistance — in order to induce them to travel.

“[T]hose who had induced our clients to travel under these false pretenses disappeared, leaving our clients to learn that the offers of assistance had all been a ruse to exploit them for political purposes,” the group wrote in a letter.

Florida Democratic officials blast DeSantis as they work to address state budget that allowed governor to ship migrants

Monday 19 September 2022 15:23 , Alex Woodward

Florida state Rep Fentrice Driskell criticised Governor Ron DeSantis for using the state as a “stepping stone for his political ambitions” after using state funds to find migrants in Texas to ship to Massachusetts.

Democratic officials told reporters on Friday that they were still working to determine how a state budget line for $12m to remove migrants living in Florida without legal permission has allowed for the governor to contract with people in Texas to remove people from that state.

The group of mostly Venezeulan migrants were not in the country illegally; they had been processed after being detained after arriving at the US-Mexico and were waiting for their cases to be heard in Texas.

Lawyers groups have blasted the governor for disrupting their immigration cases by putting them on planes and sending them 2,000 miles away.

Opinion: Republicans care about the leftist Venezuelan dictatorship — until Venezuelan migrants arrive

Monday 19 September 2022 15:01 , Johanna Chisholm

Florida governor Ron DeSantis, Texas governor Greg Abbott and their colleagues like to talk about the dangers of socialism and how Venezuela was crippled by a leftist dictatorship, writes Venezuelan journalist Germania Rodriguez Poleo, but when Venezuelan asylum seekers come to their states, they have very different reactions.

Despite all their talk about combating illegal immigration, Abbott and DeSantis are now serving as de facto coyotes, trafficking vulnerable migrants to places where they have no roots or connections.

Germania Rodriguez Poleo

Read the full opinion piece from Germania Rodriguez Poleo with The Independent here:

Ironically, most of the migrants sent away by Abbott and DeSantis were Venezuelan

Illinois senator calls Republican governors sending migrants to sanctuary cities ‘pathetic’

Monday 19 September 2022 14:45 , Johanna Chisholm

Illinois Senator Dick Durbin shamed Republican governors Greg Abbott and Ron DeSantis for sending migrants out of their states and onto northern cities, calling the actions “pathetic”.

“These governors are taking advantage of these helpless people, making promises to them to get on the bus and life is just going to be fine,” the Democratic senator said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Why is it when the Republicans want to enforce their immigration theories, it’s always the kids that end up being the victims?”.

Migrants’ lawyers call for criminal investigation into DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard stunt

Monday 19 September 2022 14:15 , Johanna Chisholm

Lawyers representing many of the Venezuelan migrants flown on two planes to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have called for a criminal investigation into the Republican publicity stunt.

The organisation Lawyers for Civil Rights has called on probes to be launched by both federal and state governments into the widely-condemned incident.

It is representing more than 30 of the undocumented migrants who were dumped on the upscale island off the coast of Massachusetts where Barack Obama has a $12m home.

Lawyers for Civil Rights has now written to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and US Attorney Rachael Rollins calling for them to investigate the “shameful political stunt.”

“Individuals, working in concert with the Florida governor, made numerous false promises to our clients, including of work opportunities, schooling for their children and immigration assistance, in order to induce them to travel,” wrote Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director, and Oren Sellstrom, litigation director.

Continue reading more about the lawyers who are calling for a criminal investigation into potential abuses of immigrants on Martha’s Vineyard here from my colleague Graeme Massie:

Migrants’ lawyers call for criminal investigation into Martha’s Vineyard stunt

NYC mayor says Republican governors cover up ‘erosions of basic human rights’

Monday 19 September 2022 14:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist calls out Republican challenger DeSantis

Monday 19 September 2022 13:42 , Johanna Chisholm

The gubernatorial race in Florida is heating up, as Democratic candidate Charlie Crist works to capitalise on the negative press the Republican opposition is facing in light of the governor’s recent actions to send nearly 50 migrants from the southern border to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

Over the weekend, while the Republican governor gave himself a pat on the back, Mr Crist — a former Republican governor of the Sunshine State who is now running on the Democratic ticket to challenge Mr DeSantis — took to news programs and social media to campaign against the governor’s controversial immigration policies, which he labelled “inhumane”.

DeSantis administration paid aviation company $615,000 to relocate migrants out of state, report says

Monday 19 September 2022 13:18 , Johanna Chisholm

New state records have revealed that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis paid an aviation company $615,000 to send migrants out of his state last week, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Records reportedly read that a payment to Oregon-based company Vertol Systems Company Inc was made on 8 September. Less than one week later, on 14 September, a plane carrying 50 migrants touched down on Martha’s Vineyard after reportedly taking off from Texas.

The Florida Department of Transportation made the payment to the company, which has operations in Florida, under the description that the funds were for a “relocation program of unauthorized aliens”.

Earlier this year, the state’s department of transportation received $12m to transport “unauthorized aliens from this state” to other parts of the country.

DeSantis says migrants ‘hit jackpot’ while Trump fumes privately that the governor is stealing his limelight

Monday 19 September 2022 12:43 , Johanna Chisholm

As Florida Governor Ron DeSantis publicly congratulated himself for sending 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard last week, an incident that has been criticised as a dangerous political stunt, former President Donald Trump was reportedly left fuming by his fellow Republican’s antics.

At a speech in Wisconsin for GOP candidates, the Florida governor claimed that all of the individuals that he’d paid to fly from Texas to Massachusetts, who he repeatedly labelled “illegals and illegal aliens”, had “hit the jackpot to be in the wealthiest sanctuary jurisdiction in the world.”

He went on to criticise the affluent island residents, many of whom rushed to the aid of the unannounced migrants who arrived last Wednesday under false promises of jobs, housing and healthcare, and claimed that so-called liberal sanctuary cities were not as welcoming as they publicly purport themselves to be.

“You’re talking about 50 people. Did they get them employed? Did they get them set up? No,” Mr DeSantis said, before adding that the liberals were “just self-congratulatory virtue signaling.”

The stunt that has launched Mr DeSantis once again to the national stage, earning outspoken support from most of his Republican peers, has reportedly irked one of its bread-and-butter figures: former President Donald Trump.

Rolling Stone reported over the weekend that the one-term president had confided privately to aides that he feels the Florida governor’s recent stunts are stealing the limelight away from him.

Two sources close to the twice-impeached president, who asked to remain anonymous with the news outlet, say that Trump is concerned that Mr DeSantis is using the country’s southern border issue to generate enthusiasm for a potential challenge for the Republican ticket in the 2024 presidential election.

The former president has reportedly also levelled private accusations at Mr DeSantis, who has not publicly declared his intentions for running in 2024, for allegedly taking one of “my ideas”, specifically referencing the recent flights that lifted migrants from the southern border and dropped them off on Martha’s Vineyard.

Trump says death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers is ‘very humane’

Monday 19 September 2022 12:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump said that the death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers is “very humane” during a speech in Youngstown, Ohio.

Speaking on Saturday, the former president said that “much of the crime wave is caused by drug dealers who during the course of their lives, will kill an average of 500 American citizens not to mention the destruction of millions of American families who are so devastated by drugs”.

“It’s an invasion of crime,” he added. “And remember much of the crime that we talk about is caused by drugs. And I’m calling for the death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers.”

The suggestion was met with cheers from the crowd.

Mr Trump claimed that the new policy would “reduce drug distribution and crime in our country by much more than 75 per cent. That’s in one day”.

Read more:

Trump says death penalty for drug dealers and human traffickers is ‘very humane’

Democratic senator blasts Abbott and DeSantis over migrants stunt: ‘It’s always the kids that end up being the victims’

Monday 19 September 2022 11:00 , Gustaf Kilander

The Democratic Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin of Illinois, has blasted the Republican governors of Texas and Florida for using migrants as political pawns.

Meet the Press host Chuck Todd of NBC News asked Mr Durbin on Sunday if he thinks the federal government should step in and prevent conservative governors from sending migrants to Democratic areas.

“Well, I can tell you this. I’ve been to the Salvation Army rescue centre in Chicago and I’ve met with people who came off the buses. I sat down with one of the families and they told me the story. It is pathetic that these governors are taking advantage of these helpless people making promises to them to get on the bus and life is just gonna be fine,” Mr Durbin told NBC News.

“And off they go into places far removed from where they’re supposed to be appearing under the requirements of our law in a matter of weeks and months. So it’s jeopardising their stay in the United States when each governor makes his decision,” he added.

“Why is it when the Republicans want to enforce their immigration theories, it’s always the kids that end up being the victims?” he asked. “We saw it with kids in cages. We saw it with [the] forcible removal of children from their parents, some who’ve never been reunited with their families. And now once again, it’s the kids and families that are put on these buses and transported for political purposes across the United States.”

Read more:

Democratic senator blasts Abbott and DeSantis over migrants stunt

Once McCain’s party, Arizona GOP returns to far-right roots

Monday 19 September 2022 09:30 , The Associated Press

Simmering discontent among a segment of Arizona Republicans over John McCain‘s famous penchant for bucking his party boiled over in the winter of 2014 with the censure of the longtime U.S. senator.

McCain’s allies responded with an all-out push to reassert control over the Arizona Republican Party. Censure proponents were ousted or diminished, and McCain went on to defeat his far-right challenger in a blowout during the 2016 primary.

Less than a decade later, the right wing forces that McCain marginalized within the Arizona GOP are now in full control, with profound implications for one of the nation’s most closely matched battlegrounds. Arizona Republicans have traded McCain for Donald Trump.

“We drove a stake in the heart of the McCain machine,” Kari Lake, making a dramatic stabbing gesture, said in a speech days after she won the Republican primary for governor in early August.

Lake, a well-known former television news anchor, has delighted segments of the state’s GOP base that have long been at odds with their party’s establishment and want their leaders to confront Democrats, not compromise with them.

Read more:

Once McCain’s party, Arizona GOP returns to far-right roots

Former Republican Representative says DeSantis and Abbott performed ‘cruel political stunts’

Monday 19 September 2022 08:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Lawyer and ‘chief tormentor of Ron DeSantis’ says since he ‘trafficked these 48 migrants, it made it much easier to legalize them’

Monday 19 September 2022 06:30 , Gustaf Kilander

RNC chair goes after Biden as migrants reported to be sleeping on streets of Texas town

Monday 19 September 2022 05:01 , Gustaf Kilander

DeSantis gets standing ovation from GOP voters

Monday 19 September 2022 04:47 , Sravasti Dasgupta

Florida governor Ron DeSantis received a standing ovation from GOP voters in Kansas when he talked about the southern border and referred to the headlines he instigated when he flew 50 migrants from the border to Martha’s Vineyard.

“This is a crisis. It’s now getting a little bit more attention,” he said on Sunday.

At another event in Wisconsin he said that the migrants crisis is an election issue for the upcoming mid-term polls in November.

“This border is now an issue in these elections,” Mr DeSantis said.

“And I think it’s something that our candidates need to take.”

Last week, the White House lashed out at Mr DeSantis and his Texas counterpart Greg Abbott for sending migrants to Washington DC and Martha’s Vinyard, calling it an “illegal” stunt.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an event on 19 August (Getty Images)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at an event on 19 August (Getty Images)

Democratic candidate for Florida governor says migrant stunts are ‘a race to the bottom of a lack of decency’

Monday 19 September 2022 03:30 , Gustaf Kilander

RNC chair called ‘a ridiculous person’ and ‘a liar’ after claiming Biden ‘had nothing to say about 53 migrants dying in Texas’

Monday 19 September 2022 02:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Florida Lt governor claims it’s ‘categorically false’ that migrants were misled

Monday 19 September 2022 00:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Photos: Migrants cross the Rio Grande to request asylum

Sunday 18 September 2022 23:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Asylum-seeking migrants, mostly from Venezuela, walk near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S. (REUTERS)

Asylum-seeking migrants, mostly from Venezuela, walk near the border wall after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S. (REUTERS)

Migrants gather to received donated clothes near a bus station after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas, U.S., September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

Migrants gather to received donated clothes near a bus station after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas, U.S., September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

Reymara, 7, a migrant girl from Venezuela traveling with her family, plays with other children after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas, U.S., September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

Reymara, 7, a migrant girl from Venezuela traveling with her family, plays with other children after being released from U.S. Border Patrol custody in El Paso, Texas, U.S., September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

Asylum-seeking migrants, mostly from Venezuela, are seen after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S. (REUTERS)

Asylum-seeking migrants, mostly from Venezuela, are seen after crossing the Rio Bravo river to turn themselves in to U.S. Border Patrol agents to request asylum in El Paso, Texas, U.S. (REUTERS)

VIDEO: Texas Governor sends out more migrant buses

Sunday 18 September 2022 21:30 , Gustaf Kilander

VIDEO: More Migrants Arrive In DC As White House Slams Republican Governors

Sunday 18 September 2022 20:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Migrant stunt putting Florida legislative seats in play on state and local levels

Sunday 18 September 2022 19:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Martha’s Vineyard migrants’ lawyers request criminal investigation

Sunday 18 September 2022 19:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Lawyers for some of the migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have called for a criminal investigation to be opened.

The lawyers have said that the migrants were “induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretences,” according to The Guardian.

The Boston group Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) represent 30 of the 48 migrants flown to the Massachusetts island on Wednesday.

“Individuals, working in concert with state officials, including the Florida governor, made numerous false promises [to the migrants] – including of work opportunities, schooling for their children, and immigration assistance – in order to induce them to travel,” they said.

“We strongly believe that criminal laws were broken by the perpetrators of this stunt,” the group said in a letter to US attorney Rachael Rollins and Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healey.

“This cowardly political stunt has placed our clients in peril. Upon arrival, numerous individuals had to be rushed to the hospital, in need of medical care. Some now have immigration hearings as early as Monday thousands of miles away,” they said in a statement.

Trump claims he invented the word ‘caravans’ to describe groups of migrants as he dubs them ‘murderers and rapers’

Sunday 18 September 2022 18:15 , Gustaf Kilander

Donald Trump claimed that he invented the word “caravans” to describe groups of migrants as he dubbed them “murderers and rapers” in a rally speech in Ohio.

The former president appeared to recount a previous conversation, saying that “you won’t take these horrible convicts and other people that you released into our country illegally and you put them in caravans”.

“I came up with that term by the way,” Mr Trump claimed. “That was my term and fake news and lots of other terms we came up with.”

“Crooked Hillary, we came up with a lot of terms,” he added.

“The way Trump casually refers to immigrants as murderers and rapists isn’t new but remains notable,” journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted.

“They don’t want to have these people,” Mr Trump said, referring to migrants. “Many of them are murderers, rapers.”

Read more:

Trump claims he invented the word ‘caravans’ to describe groups of migrants

Dem Senator blasts Abbott and DeSantis: ‘It’s always the kids that end up being the victims’

Sunday 18 September 2022 17:30 , Gustaf Kilander

NYC mayor says it’s time for Greg Abbott ‘to be the chief executive that he is’

Sunday 18 September 2022 16:45 , Gustaf Kilander

Colorado Republican Senate candidate says DeSantis and Abbott were ‘right’ with migrant stunts

Sunday 18 September 2022 16:03 , Gustaf Kilander

‘Isn’t there a degree of trolling going on here?’: Republican Senator asked about governor’s migrant stunt

Sunday 18 September 2022 15:25 , Gustaf Kilander

AOC shames Ted Cruz over treatment of ‘nuestra familia Latina’ after he backed migrant stunt and calls him ‘una vergüenza’

Sunday 18 September 2022 14:48 , Graeme Massie

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shamed Ted Cruz over the treatment of “nuestra familia Latina” and branded him “una vergüenza” for backing the GOP migrant stunts.

The US senator from Texas has publicly supported Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flying two planeloads of Venezuelan migrants to the upscale island of Martha’s Vineyard.

And Mr Cruz even called for half a million migrants to be moved from Republican states to Washington DC as the GOP attempts to punish Blue states over immigration policy.

Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic congresswoman from New York, took to Twitter and called Mr Cruz “an embarrassment” in Spanish.

Her tweet was in response to Mr Cruz tweeting, “The rich, liberal ‘people of Martha’s Vineyard’ DEPORTED THE ILLEGAL ALIENS WITHIN 24 HOURS.”

Read more:

AOC shames Ted Cruz over treatment of ‘nuestra familia Latina’

DeSantis’ opponent in governor’s race calls for DOJ probe: ‘It’s inhumane, let’s not forget that’

Sunday 18 September 2022 14:12 , Gustaf Kilander

DeSantis stunt could undercut Hispanic voter support in November

Sunday 18 September 2022 13:48 , Gustaf Kilander

Ron DeSantis’s political stunt of flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard could backfire and undercut his support among Hispanic voters in November.

Democratic State Senator Annette Taddeo told Politico, “from a Miami perspective, it’s a huge mistake”.

“All these Republicans … historically talk about socialism and communism and that we are standing up to these horrible dictators. The migrants are fleeing exactly what Republicans say they are fighting against,” she added.

The Florida GOP has attempted to win over Venezuelan Americans in recent years. A lot of them left Venezuela in the last ten years following the political and economic chaos that erupted under the leadership of Nicolás Maduro and Hugo Chávez before him.

While Venezuelan Americans make up a small part of Florida, estimated at around 200,000 people, the community is growing.

“I have friends and neighbours who fled Venezuela’s brutal dictator, and to cruelly treat anyone in that spot like a political pawn or fundraising gimmick, is simply repulsive,” Democratic Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz said, according to the outlet.

Ron DeSantis slammed by gubernatorial opponent for migrant stunt

Sunday 18 September 2022 13:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Ron DeSantis is running for re-election this year against Democrat Charlie Crist, a former Republican governor of the state.

Mr Crist told The Orlando Sentinel that his opponent is taking these actions to “rile up his base and use people as punching bags while he tries to run for president and distracts from the issue of this election – being pro-choice”.

University of Florida political science chair Daniel Smith told the paper that the depths to which “one can fall in terms of virtue signalling to the MAGA” base are “unplumbed”.

“We don’t really have a precedent for this type of action in political science,” he said.

“He’s not thinking of 2022. He’s more focused on the primary season for 2024,” Mr Smith said. “This is not about migrants in Florida, clearly.”

“I think he’s overplaying his hand,” he added. “Will he be hoisted on his own petard?”

“States like Massachusetts, New York and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states,’” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said in a statement to the paper.

Ted Cruz suggests Obamas host migrants at their Martha’s Vineyard mansion

Sunday 18 September 2022 11:30 , Graeme Massie

Ted Cruz has suggested that the Obamas host migrants at their Martha’s Vineyard mansion.

“I commend Greg Abbott for sending the immigrants to these Blue cities, I commend Ron DeSantis for doing so and they need to do more,” said Mr Cruz on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

“Tomorrow Martha’s Vineyard needs a hundred, the next day they need 200, the next day a thousand.

“DC says it’s a crisis to get 6,000, they need 10,000, they need 100,000 they need 500,000. Because, Joe Biden has allowed 4.2m people to come in illegally and I know these rich billionaires say ‘Well gosh, you people, just let them eat cake.’

“Well, how about the Obamas host these 50 people in their $12m compound.”

Ted Cruz says Joe Biden is ‘the biggest human trafficker on the face of the planet’

Sunday 18 September 2022 10:00 , Graeme Massie

Ted Cruz has claimed that Joe Biden is “the biggest human trafficker on the face of the planet”.

Speaking to Sean Hannity of Fox News, the Texas Senator was forced to admit that the transportation of undocumented migrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard by Ron DeSantis was likely illegal.

Mr Hannity asked him if the law was clear on human trafficking, to which Mr Cruz uncomfortably admitted, “it is clear”.

He then quickly turned his attention back to the White House.

“Right now the biggest human trafficker on the face of the planet is Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.”

The group of migrants sent by Mr DeSantis to the Massachusetts island has now been transported to a large shelter operation supported by state agencies in Cape Cod.

Harris says White House is looking at ‘root causes’ of migration issues

Sunday 18 September 2022 08:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Kamala Harris has said that the White House is looking at the “root causes” of the migration issues the administration is facing.

“We’re looking at the cause. Why do people leave home? Most people don’t want to leave home,” Ms Harris told Vice News on Friday. “I’m in charge of coordinating what we call a ‘root causes strategy’. We have now raised $3.2bn to help the folks in those countries stay by giving them opportunities for them to take care of themselves in their home country, in their own country, which is frankly what they want to be able to do.”

Kamala Harris blames Trump administration for migration issues

Sunday 18 September 2022 07:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Kamala Harris has blamed the Trump administration for the immigration problems the White House is dealing with.

“Under the previous administration, they decimated a system that was designed to address immigration,” she told Vice News on Friday. “And so we have been spending in the last 18 months an incredible amount of time and work and resources to reconstruct that system. The first piece of legislation that we offered, back in January of last year, was for a pathway for citizenship. People are playing political games with that, and it’s going nowhere.”

Migrant says he was paid to recruit migrants for Florida’s controversial Martha’s Vineyard flights

Sunday 18 September 2022 05:30 , Josh Marcus

More details are emerging about how nearly 50 migrants, many of them from Venezuela, ended up on a pair of surprise flights that the state of Florida sent to Martha’s Vineyard, a ritzy vacation island in Massachusetts, in a widely criticised political stunt.

Migrants say they were promised work papers, jobs and even paid to board the flight and encouraged others to join them.

A 27-year-old Venezuelan migrant named Emmanuel told San Antonio Report that a woman named Perla gave him $200 from “an anonymous benefactor” to recruit fellow asylum-seekers outside a city-run migrant centre in San Antonio, Texas, where the flights originated.

“Perla informed me that in those sanctuary states, the state has the benefits to help migrants,” Emmanuel said. “I’ve just been the mediator because I like to help people.”

“A lot of people really come without plans, they want to come and just work and they have a hand that’ll provide them shelter,” he added. “I just saw it in that way, like a sweet way, doing it for good.”

Read more:

Migrant says he was paid to recruit others for Martha’s Vineyard flight

Photos: Migrants arrive outside vice presidential residence

Sunday 18 September 2022 04:00 , Gustaf Kilander

A group of mainly Venezuelan migrants, who were sent by bus from detention in Texas and then dropped off outside the Naval Observatory, the official residence of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, wait for transport in Washington, U.S. September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

A group of mainly Venezuelan migrants, who were sent by bus from detention in Texas and then dropped off outside the Naval Observatory, the official residence of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, wait for transport in Washington, U.S. September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

A group of mainly Venezuelan migrants, who were sent by bus from detention in Texas and then dropped off outside the Naval Observatory, the official residence of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, wait for transport in Washington, U.S. September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

A group of mainly Venezuelan migrants, who were sent by bus from detention in Texas and then dropped off outside the Naval Observatory, the official residence of U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, wait for transport in Washington, U.S. September 17, 2022 (REUTERS)

A one month old baby is placed into a vehicle for transport to a safe place (REUTERS)

A one month old baby is placed into a vehicle for transport to a safe place (REUTERS)

‘The whole group is pretty upset’: Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard speak out

Sunday 18 September 2022 02:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Some of the migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have spoken out.

“When we got on the plane, they told us they would give us jobs, a place to live, everything,” Everlides Dela Hoz told USA Today via a translator. “The whole group is pretty upset. But they did take us to a nice place.”

“I simply feel misled because they told a lie and it has come to nothing,” Pedro Luis Torrelaba, 36, told the paper on Friday.

“I want peace,” Carlos Muños said. “Tranquility.”

VIDEO: Dozens of migrants flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard

Sunday 18 September 2022 01:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Newsom issues debate challenge to DeSantis after migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyeard

Saturday 17 September 2022 23:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Calfornia’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom has issued a debate challenge to Florida Republican Ron DeSantis after he flew migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

“Hey @GovRonDeSantis, clearly you’re struggling, distracted, and busy playing politics with people’s lives. Since you have only one overriding need — attention –let’s take this up & debate. I’ll bring my hair gel. You bring your hairspray. Name the time before Election Day,” Mr Newsom tweeted in response to a post by former news anchor Dan Rather.

“Here’s an idea for Chris Licht, the new head of @CNN. Set up a debate — one-on-one — between @GavinNewsom and @RonDeSantisFL. Two governors of big states, potential presidential candidates. Prime time. Ratings I bet would be huge. Who would have the courage to show up?” the ex-anchor wrote.

Kamala Harris slams GOP governors for ‘dereliction of duty’ as more migrants sent to her residence

Saturday 17 September 2022 22:15 , Gustaf Kilander

Vice President Kamala Harris has slammed Republican governors transporting migrants to progressive, including her Washington, DC residence, for their “dereliction of duty”.

Speaking to Vice News on Friday, Ms Harris said “these are political stunts with real human beings who are fleeing harm”.

The vice president was asked if she could understand the point Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott were trying to make by sending migrants to several areas, including Washington, DC, New York City, and Martha’s Vineyard, Masschusetts.

“They’re playing games,” she said.

“I mean, do you know what’s happening in Venezuela right now? There were children, people being put on a bus or a plane who didn’t know where they’re going or where they were being sent. Human beings, real people who have fled harm, who came to the United States of America seeking refuge, asylum,” Ms Harris told Vice.

Read more:

Kamala Harris slams GOP governors for ‘dereliction of duty’

Ted Cruz forced to admit trafficking migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is illegal in Sean Hannity interview

Saturday 17 September 2022 21:00 , Graeme Massie

Ted Cruz was forced to admit by Sean Hannity that the transportation of undocumented migrants from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard by Ron DeSantis was likely illegal.

The Florida governor has been widely criticised for flying two planeloads of Venezuelans to the upscale island, where Barack Obama has a $12m home, as part of a Republican immigration publicity stunt.

Mr Cruz, a US Senator from Texas, cast doubt on the legality of the move when he appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

Hannity asked the Canadian-born lawmaker whether he would likely face arrest if he had personally taken a truck, collected immigrants from the border, and driven them across the country.

“For you, a citizen, you could easily be arrested, although to be honest Joe Biden’s Justice Department wouldn’t arrest you,” replied Mr Cruz, who is a lawyer.

Read more:

Ted Cruz forced to admit trafficking migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is illegal

Ted Cruz says half a million migrants should be sent to DC

Saturday 17 September 2022 20:15 , Graeme Massie

Ted Cruz has called for half a million undocumented migrants to be sent to Washington DC as part of a Republican attempt to punish Democratic-supporting areas of the country over immigration policy.

The Canadian-born US senator has thrown his support behind Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florid Governor Ron DeSantis for their widely-criticized immigration publicity stunts.

Earlier this week Mr DeSantis, a Republican who faces re-election in November, sent two planeloads of Venezuelan migrants to the upscale island of Martha’s Vineyard where Barack Obama has a $12m home.

And Mr Abbott, who is also up for re-election later this year, continued his policy of removing migrants out of his own state by sending a bus to the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in DC.

“I commend Greg Abbott for sending the immigrants to these Blue cities, I commend Ron DeSantis for doing so and they need to do more,” said Mr Cruz on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show.

Read more:

Ted Cruz says half a million migrants should be sent to DC

DeSantis hammered in Florida newspapers for ‘political stunt’ flying Venezuelans to Martha’s Vineyard

Saturday 17 September 2022 19:30 , Gustaf Kilander

Ron DeSantis is getting slammed in Florida newspapers for his political stunt flying migrants to the Massachusetts island of Martha’s Vineyard.

“The governor likes to pander to communities like mine, traumatized by political persecution and violence,” Maria Corina Vegas, deputy state director of the American Business Immigration Coalition, told The Miami Herald. “This is a new low, even for this governor.”

Mr DeSantis flew the refugees from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard using taxpayer funds to boost his potential 2024 presidential campaign, critics told the Orlando Sentinel.

“I think this is outrageous. We are better than this as a state and as a nation,” Tallahassee immigration lawyer Elizabeth Ricci told the paper. “Under the principles of federalism, the state doesn’t have the authority to enforce any federal laws … and the governor knows this.”

University of Florida political science chair Daniel Smith told the paper that the depths to which “one can fall in terms of virtue signalling to the MAGA” base are “unplumbed”.

Read more: DeSantis hammered in Florida newspapers for ‘political stunt’ flying Venezuelans to Martha’s Vineyard

Migrants sent to VP’s residence from Texas for second time this week

Saturday 17 September 2022 18:45 , Gustaf Kilander

A group of migrants have been sent by bus from Texas and dropped off outside the vice president’s residence in Washington, DC for the second time this week.

A further 50 migrants were driven to the Naval Observatory, where Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff live, in northwest Washington on Saturday morning.

The migrants were mostly from Venezuela, with one of the arrivals being a one-month-old baby. They were picked up by aid workers who took them to a shelter, Fox News Digital reported.

Four buses were also sent to New York City as Republican governors have been criticised for using human beings as political pawns in a cynical game.

Two buses carrying migrants first arrived at the Naval Observatory on Thursday morning.

Read more:

Migrants sent to VP’s residence from Texas for second time this week

Marjorie Taylor Greene calls for Biden’s impeachment over migrants

Saturday 17 September 2022 18:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Ted Cruz admits transporting migrants across state borders is illegal

Saturday 17 September 2022 17:15 , Gustaf Kilander

Ted Cruz urges GOP governors to send half a million migrants to Washington, DC

Saturday 17 September 2022 16:30 , Gustaf Kilander

DeSantis hammered by Florida newspapers for ‘political stunt’ flying Venezuelan to Martha’s Vineyard

Saturday 17 September 2022 16:00 , Gustaf Kilander

Migrants sent to VP’s residence from Texas for second time this week

Saturday 17 September 2022 15:19 , Gustaf Kilander

Watching: Karine Jean-Pierre shuts down Fox News reporter

Saturday 17 September 2022 05:00 , Alex Woodward

White House press secretary Jean-Pierre spent a significant portion of Friday’s briefing discussing the Biden administration’s response to Republican governors using buses and airplanes to send asylum seekers to Democratic-led jurisdictions to punish state and local leaders for not supporting harsher border policies.

At one point during the daily briefing, she was asked if the administration had considered moving migrants from the communities where they entered the US to other parts of the country to relieve overcrowding in those areas.

ICYMI: JFK Library compares DeSantis migrants move to historic ‘Reverse Freedom Rides’

Saturday 17 September 2022 04:00 , Alex Woodward

The Reverse Freedom Rides scheme carried out by Southern segregationists sought to retaliate against Northern liberals at the height of the US civil rights movement.

In 1962, around 200 African Americans from the South were deceived by the White Citizens Council in New Orleans into moving cities such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles.

The JFK Library this week appeared to make an unflattering comparison to Republican governors shipping migrants to other states in protest of what they have characterised as President Joe Biden’s “open border” policy.

JFK Library compares DeSantis migrants move to historic ‘Reverse Freedom Rides’

ICYMI: Biden and White House slam GOP governors’ migrant flights

Saturday 17 September 2022 03:30 , Alex Woodward

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala on Thursday night, President Joe Biden slammed GOP governors less than a day after Greg Abbott sent two busloads of South and Central American asylum seekers to Washington and Ron DeSantis funded a planeload of migrants’ transportation from Texas to Massachusetts.

“Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” Biden said.

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg on White House reaction:

Biden slams GOP governors’ migrant flights: ‘Playing politics with human beings’

Did Ron DeSantis break the law by sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard?

Saturday 17 September 2022 03:00 , Alex Woodward

Immigration attorneys say migrants were falsely promised jobs and expedited legal status. Officials suggested they were kidnapped. Legal analysts argue the stunt is a moral failure but likely not a crime, The Independent’s Alex Woodward reports:

Did DeSantis break the law by sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard?

Watch: Scenes from Martha’s Vineyard as migrants transported to Cape Cod shelter

Saturday 17 September 2022 02:30 , Alex Woodward

“Tears, cheers, high fives, hugs and photos” were shared on Martha’s Vineyard on Friday morning as the group of 50 migrants who arrived on the island said goodbye to volunteers and residents who helped shelter them after their surprise arrival this week, The Martha’s Vineyard Gazette reported.

The group spent two nights at St Andrew’s Episcopal Church on the island, and volunteers and community- and faith-based groups provided them with food, clothing, toys for children and cell phones.

“Get together everyone – I want to know everyone who helped!” a man named Rafael called out to volunteers as they departed, the Gazette reported. “Thank you everyone! Blessings to everyone!”

Migrants are now being housed at Joint Base Cape Code, a large shelter operation with health and counseling services, legal aid and separate beds and rooms for families.

ICYMI: Migrants relocated to larger shelter facility in Cape Cod

Saturday 17 September 2022 02:00 , Alex Woodward

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced he plans to activate the National Guard, among relief efforts his administration is supplying for the group of migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard under Governor Ron DeSantis’s controversial relocation programme.

“The island communities are not equipped to provide sustainable accommodation, and state officials developed a plan to deliver a comprehensive humanitarian response,” the governor’s office said in a statement on Friday.

The group arrived at Joint Base Cape Cod shortly after noon on Friday. Several state and local agencies offering support, including shelter, medical services, counseling and legal aid. Families will not be separated.

The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm has more:

National Guard activated to assist migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by DeSantis

ICYMI: State records show flight company hired for $610,000 to transport ‘unauthorized alients’

Saturday 17 September 2022 01:30 , Alex Woodward

State records first reported by the Miami-Herald reveal that Florida’s Department of Transportation paid $615,000 to an Oregon-based flight company with divisions in Florida earlier this month for a “relocation program of unauthorized aliens”.

“I’ve got $12m for us to use, so we’re going to use it. You’re going to see more and more,” Governor Ron DeSantis told reporters on Friday, referring to the state budget item earmarked for removing migrants from the state. “I’m going to make sure we exhaust all those funds.”

The governor did not clarify how migrants were identified in Texas as bound for Florida, or why the state was investigating cases several states away.

The Independent has requested comment and clarification from the flight company in its role in Florida’s programme.

Germania Rodriguez Poleo: ‘Republicans care about the leftist Venezuelan dictatorship — until Venezuelan migrants arrive’

Saturday 17 September 2022 01:00 , Alex Woodward

Following a massive refugee crisis from political fallout and violence in Venezuela, millions have fled, with many making a difficult and dangerous journey through Central America and Mexico for the chance of claiming asylum in the US.

Germania Rodriguez Poleo writes for The Independent’s Voices:

Republican politicians and pundits love using the Venezuelan tragedy to score political points. They especially love talking on podiums and at rallies about how socialism destroyed what was once Latin America’s wealthiest nation. Yet once Venezuelan asylum seekers come to the US for refuge from that oppressive regime, they’re immediately dehumanized; no longer victims but “illegals” to be weaponized and rejected wholesale.

Ironically, most of the migrants sent away by Abbott and DeSantis were Venezuelan

Ron DeSantis breaks fundraising record amid Martha’s Vineyard immigration stunt

Friday 16 September 2022 23:45 , Alex Woodward

Ron DeSantis has broken a fundraising record for a gubernatorial campaign, raising $175.8m for his campaign committee and affiliated political action committee, according to a disclosure he filed on Friday.

The number exceeds that of all other fundraising except for money that candidates give to their own campaigns. By comparison, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who is running for reelection, raised $116.8m as of 30 July 2022.

The Independent’s Eric Garcia reports from Washington:

Ron DeSantis breaks fundraising record for governors

Democratic lawmakers in Florida to respond to DeSantis

Friday 16 September 2022 22:39 , Alex Woodward

House Democratic leadership in Florida will discuss plans for the state legislature to “cease” Governor Ron DeSantis’s inappropriate use of taxpayer money” to transport people seeking asylum to other states.

“This use of state funds is not what was intended or described in law, nor was it what was discussed in debate,” according to a statement from House lawmakers Evan Jenne and Fentrice Driskell.

Officials will hold a press conference outlining next steps on Monday at 10am EST.

The governor has repeatedly defended his scheme, part of a $12m state budget line approved by lawmakers earlier this year to remove migrants from the state. His aides and campaign also have sneered at Democratic lawmakers who voted to support the state budget, which included the programme intended to remove “unauthorized aliens”.

State records show that the state paid an Oregon-based flight company more than $600,000 a week before two planes in Texas were loaded with mostly Venezuelan migrants, whose asylum claims were being processed in Texas, and sent to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on Wednesday, at the governor’s request.

White House press secretary loses patience with repetitive question from Fox New reporter on migrants

Friday 16 September 2022 21:51 , Alex Woodward

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday ended up in a testy exchange with Fox News correspondent Jacqui Heinrich, as Ms Jean-Pierre spent a significant portion of the briefing discussing the Biden administration’s response to Republican governors using buses and airplanes to send asylum-seekers to Democratic-led jurisdictions to punish state and local leaders for not supporting harsher border policies.

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg reports from Washington:

White House press secretary loses patience with repetitive question from Fox reporter

Migrant claims he was paid $200 to recruit others to board planes

Friday 16 September 2022 21:20 , Alex Woodward

A 27-year-old Venezuelan migrant told the San Antonio Reportthat he was paid $200 in cash torecruit people from outside the San Antonio Migrant Resource Center to board a flight to Martha’s Vineyard.

He said a woman named “Perla” instructed him to identify migrants; he gave her the names of 10 migrants he met near the centre.

“Perla informed me that in those sanctuary states, the state has the benefits to help migrants,” he told the outlet. “I’ve just been the mediator because I like to help people.”

DeSantis claims migrants signed ‘release’ as he pledges ‘more and more’ flights and buses

Friday 16 September 2022 20:30 , Alex Woodward

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claims migrants signed release forms and were provided a “packet” with a map of Martha’s Vineyard before they were put on planes from Texas to the Massachusetts island.

He said migrants were “identified” as likely to come to Florida, where they would “impose a lot of cost on the community, so we’re trying to avoid that.”

The governor did not clarify how migrants were identified in Texas as bound for Florida, and why the state was investigating cases several states away.

He said “there’s a bunch of stuff that’s gone into creating the infrastructure” to move migrants out of states.

“I’ve got $12m for us to use, so we’re going to use it,” he told reporters on Friday. “You’re going to see more and more. I’m going to make sure we exhause all those funds.”

Don Jr jokes about violence against migrants in Instagram post as he backs DeSantis’s Martha’s Vineyard stunt

Friday 16 September 2022 20:15 , Alex Woodward

The former president’s oldest son appeared to joke about violence against migrants arriving in the US while criticising progressive border policies by sharing a series of memes that depict scenes where migrants were attacked by border officials on the US southern border.

“You know it’s coming,” he said in an Instagram post showing a photoshopped image of a Border Patrol agent on horseback chasing Haitian migrants seeking asylum along the US-Mexico border.

Don Jr jokes about migrants in Instagram post as he backs Martha’s Vineyard flights

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