Democrats are accusing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) of human trafficking and demanding that the Justice Department take action against him.
The accusations came on the same day that dozens of migrants arrived in Martha's Vineyard. GOP governors have been sending migrants to "sanctuary" localities in recent months because President Joe Biden has failed to address the border crisis in which millions of migrants have overwhelmed the southern U.S. border.
What are Democrats saying?
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) wrote the Justice Department demanding that "kidnapping" charges be considered against DeSantis.
Without evidence, Newsom claimed migrants were lured onto the plane that eventually went to Martha's Vineyard, thus accusing DeSantis of operating a "fraudulent scheme."
Several of the individuals who were transported to Martha’s Vineyard have alleged that a recruiter induced them to accept the offer of travel based on false representations that they would be transported to Boston and would receive expedited access to work authorization. The interstate travel at issue provides a basis for federal jurisdiction over this matter.
Accordingly, I strongly urge the U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) to open an investigation into possible criminal or civil violations of federal law based on this alleged fraudulent scheme.
Specifically, Newsom suggested DeSantis is guilty of kidnapping and violating the civil rights of migrants and suggested he violated a law typically reserved for prosecuting organized crime.
Democrat Nikki Fried, who campaigned against DeSantis for governor, also wrote Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting an investigation, claiming that DeSantis is "trafficking" migrants.
I am writing to urge your office launch an immediate investigation into the actions of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and the transportation of 50 migrants by plane to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The use of human beings to score political points is first and foremost detestable. Additionally, this maneuver raises serious legal questions and will have untold repercussions on the individuals caught up in the Governor’s political stunt. An investigation is necessary to understand who these immigrants are, how they were transported across state lines, and if their rights were violated.
Shockingly, U.S. attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins said Thursday that she will speak to the Justice Department about "next steps."
"We are looking into that case, and we’ll be speaking with members of the Department of Justice. Massachusetts isn’t the only place where this has happened," she said, Politico reported. "We have several other sister communities — whether it’s D.C., New York, California — where we’ve seen things like this, and we’re hoping to get some input from the Department of Justice about what our next steps might be, if any at all."
What does Biden admin do?
Under Biden's leadership, migrants have been transported to cities all across the U.S. because immigration facilities near the border have been overwhelmed by the number of migrants entering the U.S.
Although left-leaning PolitiFact tried to downplay the truthfulness of this, the outlet clearly explained, "The federal government flies adult detainees in its custody from one facility to another, or from one U.S. city to another during deportation proceedings. The U.S. government in some cases also flies unaccompanied children who are being released from its custody to a family member or sponsor."
The Washington Post also explained, "Both U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) fly undocumented immigrants to different locations in the United States."
To be fair, the same type of migrant transportation happened in the Trump administration. The pace of transportation, however, has significantly increased because of the border crisis.
NBC News even reported on the Biden administration's plan to send migrants to cities across the U.S. as they await their turn in immigration court.
One thus wonders what the difference is between the federal government transporting migrants via bus or airplane and Republican governors doing it. Apparently nothing, because administration officials referred to their plan as the "Abbott plan."
What did DeSantis say?
A spokesman for the governor reiterated that "sanctuary" localities are best suited to care for migrants.
"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’ and support for the Biden administration’s open border policies," said DeSantis communications director Taryn Fenske.