Politics

Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard file lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis – HotAir



The left is really doing its very best to make sure no more illegal immigrants disturb the exceedingly wealthy people of Martha’s Vineyard ever again. Yesterday we learned that the migrants had retained lawyers and today a Texas sheriff announced he was opening an investigation into the flight (which originated in Texas). This afternoon the migrants filed their lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis and against Florida’s transportation secretary.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Boston, alleges that the migrants were told they were going to Boston or Washington, “which was completely false,” and were induced with perks such as $10 McDonald’s gift certificates.

“No human being should be used as a political pawn,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, which is seeking class-action status in the lawsuit filed on behalf of several migrants who were aboard last week’s flights and Alianza Americas, a network of advocacy groups.

This is not only an obvious partisan attempt to go after DeSantis, it’s also a cash grab:

The Venezuelan asylum-seekers also asked the court to award them and the several dozen other migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard last week monetary compensation for the emotional trauma they say they suffered as a result of their transportation to the Massachusetts island.

The class-action lawsuit, which seeks to cover the roughly 50 migrants taken to Martha’s Vineyard, alleged that an unknown person gained the migrants’ trust in Texas by offering them McDonald’s gift cards, free hotel rooms and assistance getting them to a destination where they would find employment, housing and other services…

It was only after the planes took off that the migrants were told their final destination was Martha’s Vineyard, according to the lawsuit.

Upon landing on the Massachusetts island, the migrants were shocked. Some of them, the lawsuit said, tried to call and message “Perla” but did not receive a response. One migrant, referred to as Jesus Doe, sent “Perla” a voice message, saying “One question, what institution are we supposed to look for? We arrived and no one is saying anything.”

The full lawsuit is here. It mentions a figure of $75,000 but that appears to be just the minimum damages required to file this type of class-action suit. As mentioned above, it’s also not just the three migrants who are suing. An organization based in Chicago called Alianza Americas is also part of the lawsuit.

Alianza Americas and its 53 member organizations are incurring concrete and ongoing injuries as a direct result of Defendants’ conduct. Because of Defendants’ conduct, Alianza Americas and its member organizations have been, and will continue to be, required to shift their focus from their regular operations to such activities as holding community programming to educate immigrant-serving communities against Defendants’ conduct: that offers of assistance made to newly-arrived immigrants may be ruses by State government officials who are attempting to make a political point and the need to respond to identify the needs that arise from this scheme, including legal assistance, mental health crises, transportation, housing, food, and clothing.

This just happened this afternoon so I’m not seeing many reactions to it beyond the media stories describing what is in the lawsuit. But Gov. DeSantis office has responded, saying in part “The immigrants were homeless, hungry and abandoned— and these activists didn’t care about them then.” His office also provided an image of one of the signed documents agreeing to be transported out of Texas.

So presumably all three of the plaintiffs signed documents like this. It’s noteworthy that the document itself (which is in Spanish) doesn’t specify a destination, it just says they agree to be flown outside Texas to a sanctuary state.

The response to that is going to be that the migrants only signed because they’d been promised a flight to Boston or Washington, DC. There’s also a question raised in the lawsuit about this brochure (see below) which migrants say they received from the people organizing the flight. That brochure looks like it was published by the state of Massachusetts but the lawsuit claims it was not. That in fact it takes information from a Mass. website for refugees. As asylum seekers and not refugees, the migrants would not be eligible for any of the benefits mentioned in the brochure.

But there’s another wrinkle here. According to the complaint, the migrants were handed these brochures right before landing:

Specifically, while on the plane, right before landing in Martha’s Vineyard, Defendants provided the individual Plaintiffs each with a shiny, red folder that included other official-looking materials, including: a brochure entitled “Massachusetts Refugee Benefits” and instructions for how to change an address with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a federal agency which oversees immigration, including USCIS Form AR-11, “Alien’s Change of Address Card.”

On information and belief, the brochure was manufactured by Defendants.

Obviously the brochures can’t be blamed for inducing anyone to join the flight if they didn’t get them until they were landing. I guess the argument is that the brochures demonstrate the kind of things the migrants claim they were told verbally before agreeing to the flight.

In any case, this is probably going to be the only story we hear about for the rest of the week so you can count on a lot more about all of this tomorrow.





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