Law enforcement in Texas has begun looking into DeSantis’ antics. When taken at its value, the plan proposed by Governor Ron DeSantis is a political and moral atrocity. The Florida Republican and his group have been accused of making false promises to get desperate migrants to board flights in Texas, and then abandoning them on an unprepared New England island. This whole thing smells like an exploitative ploy to boost the political career of a far-right governor.
At first glance, it would appear that DeSantis doesn’t give a hoot about matters of morality. That’s probably his preferred option. What the Floridian should focus on more is the question of whether or not his scheme was actually legal. The following was reported by NBC News:
On Monday, a Texas sheriff announced that his office had begun a criminal inquiry into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ unusual decision to transport over 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, the previous week. The investigation is preliminary, Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County said, therefore he did not want to name any suspects. Instead, he stated at a press conference, “Everybody on this call knows who those names are already.”
The inquiry appears to be at an early stage at this point, but the Bexar County sheriff added that he suspects the migrants in the issue may have been “lured under false pretenses” by DeSantis’ supporters.
More and more data suggests those worries are justified. They all seem to agree on one woman, who they call “Perla,” who helped them board planes by telling them blatant lies about where they were going and what they would get out of it.
A separate NBC News report from yesterday stated that the migrants were handed a booklet offering refugee housing, monetary assistance, and employment opportunities, but that the leaflet was extremely deceptive and, according to Lawyers for Civil Rights, may have been illegal. (Popular Information was the first to report the brochure.)
However, DeSantis’ situation is complicated by the fact that similar legal problems are being raised in his home state, all of which are tough to resolve. Recent days have seen the governor assert that Florida lawmakers provided him $12 million to carry out transport like this, but Politico reports that it is far from apparent whether he has “carried out the program as the Republican-controlled Legislature planned.”
In terms of the law, it seems like DeSantis has put himself in a sticky situation, as he was given funds to “assist the transport of unlawful individuals from this state consistent with federal law.”
However, “this state” likely refers to Florida, not Texas, and asylum seekers were almost probably not “unauthorized immigrants” under immigration regulations.
There are only seven weeks left until the Florida election, and so far Republican Governor Ron DeSantis hasn’t presented a convincing explanation of his gamble.