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Monday, December 09, 2019

Asylum Seekers Shipped North By DeSantis Were Promised Cash And Jobs

Ron DeSantis

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Officials in Massachusetts, the U.S. Dept. of Justice, and others concerned for the well-being and civil rights of 50 or so asylum seekers from Venezuela, including children, flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis were reportedly given a brochure that said they would be eligible to receive “8 months cash assistance,” “assistance with housing,” and “job placement,” along with other benefits.

Calling it “The smoking gun in Martha’s Vineyard,” Popular Information’s Judd Legum reports it “has obtained documentary evidence that migrants from Venezuela were provided with false information to convince them to board flights chartered by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R). The documents suggest that the flights were not just a callous political stunt but potentially a crime.”

Legum reports “many of the migrants told reporters that they were misled about the nature of the flights. Several migrants told NPR they were told the flight was going to Boston, not Martha’s Vineyard. According to the migrants, a woman who identified herself as Perla also said that, if they traveled to Boston, they could receive ‘expedited work papers.'”

“If the migrants were misled,” Legum adds, that is “potentially criminal,” and would mean the “scheme to transport them to Martha’s Vineyard could constitute fraud, false imprisonment, or kidnapping. ”

Popular Information “obtained a brochure that was provided to the migrants who ultimately agreed to the flights” that “says that migrants who arrive in Massachusetts will be eligible for numerous benefits, including ‘8 months cash assistance,’ ‘assistance with housing,’ ‘food,’ ‘clothing,’ ‘transportation to job interviews,’ ‘job training,’ ‘job placement,’ ‘registering children for school,’ ‘assistance applying for Social Security cards,’ and many other benefits.”

Massachusetts Democratic state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, whose district includes Martha’s Vineyard, has been pushing for a federal investigation

“We are requesting that the Department of Justice open an investigation to hold DeSantis & others accountable for these inhumane acts. Not only is it morally criminal, there are legal implications around fraud, kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, and human trafficking,” he said, adding: “I have spoken with our US Attorney Rachel Rollins and am grateful to hear she is pushing for a response from the DOJ.”

Many of the asylum-seeking immigrants from Venezuela are now represented by Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR), which says the group was “induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretenses,'” according to The Guardian.

“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.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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