Migrant crisis – latest: Migrants sue DeSantis for ‘fraudulent’ scheme as new plane reportedly heads to Delaware

Related video: More Migrants Arrive In D.C. As White House Slams Republican Governors

A group of 48 mostly Venezeulan migrants who the state of Florida transported in a surprise flight to Martha’s Vineyard last week have sued governor Ron DeSantis for the “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme.”

Local officials as well as the governor of California have called for the Florida governor to be criminally investigated for the flights, which reportedly relied on false claims of aid in official-looking to entice the migrants to board them.

Delaware agencies, meanwhile, are preparing for another potential flight due to arrive on Tuesday near President Joe Biden’s beach home in Rehoboth Beach. The plane, however, appears to have been delayed, according to flight tracking services.

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.


How ‘historic’ is the situation at the border? Here’s what the data says.

Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Texas governor Greg Abbott have both framed their highly controversial efforts to send migrants in planes and buses to liberal states as a way to raise awareness about the “historic” crisis at the US border. It’s a crisis, they say, that’s been caused by the Biden adminstration.

Indeed, a historic number of people have crossed the US-Mexico this year.

So far, in fiscal year 2022, more than 2.1m migrants have been encountered at the frontier line, according to US Customs and Border Protection.

That’s already more that 2021’s total, which just barely topped previous records from the 1980s and early 2000s, as the Pew Research Center noted in an analysis.

For what it’s worth, the record year of 2021 also included the final few months of the Trump administration, but you’re unlikely to hear much mention of that from partisans like Mr DeSantis and Mr Abbott.

As we’ll explore in a coming blog post, however, pinning these record numbers solely on Joe Biden hugely distorts the picture of what’s actually happening.


White House says Florida using migrants as ‘pawns’ to score points for DeSantis

The White House on Tuesday continued to criticise Florida governor Ron DeSantis for backing migrant flights sending asylum-seekers from Texas and Florida to liberal locales across the country.

“When you think about what’s going on in Venezuela, when you think about what’s going on in Nicaragua, when you think about what’s going on in Cuba – they are fleeing political persecution only to be used as a political pawn by the Florida governor,” press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday during a press briefing.

Watch her full remarks here via C-SPAN.


Both parties are to blame for the border ‘crisis’

Cries, especially from the GOP, of a “crisis” at the border are nothing new.

Whether its Donald Trump, Ron DeSantis, or Greg Abbott, Republicans regularly use the border as an issue to whip up their base.

But is there really a “crisis” at the border?

Last year, as Donald Trump railed against a similar “crisis,” I wrote this look at how both parties have failed to pass any meaningful immigration reform in decades, resulting in a constant state of crisis that varies little from one administration to the next.


Investigation threats loom over migrant flights

The Florida-funded migrant flights certainly accomplished one part of their objective: get attention.

But perhaps it’s not the kind of attention Republican supporters of the tactic like governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida really wanted.

Multiple entities, ranging from California governor Gavin Newsom to a local sheriff, say an investigation is warranted into whether the flights were illegal.

Here’s our reporting on what could come next


Migrants and civil rights attorneys file federal lawsuit against DeSantis administration

Attorneys for a group of migrants who boarded unannounced flights to Martha’s Vineyard from San Antonio, Texas have filed a federal class action lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who allegedly directed a “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme” to transport a group of 50 people, including families with small children, as part of a political stunt.

The lawsuit alleges the governor and members of his administration targeted immigrants who were recently released from shelters with false promises of job opportunities, education and financial assistance before they landed on the island with only volunteered support from local groups and emergency assistance from state agencies.

Attorneys allege that the migrants were exploited for “political purposes.”

“No human being should be used as a political pawn in the nation’s highly polarized debate over immigration,” Lawyers for Civil Rights executive director Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal said in a statement.

More details from Alex Woodward’s full report.


Immigrants sue Ron DeSantis for Martha’s Vineyard flight

The nearly 50 migrants aboard a flight the state of Florida funded to land in Martha’s Vineyard last week are suing Ron DeSantis.

Lawyers for Civil Rights, an advocacy group, announced the group of 48 is filing a class action lawsuit against the Florida governor for what it calls “a fraudulent and discriminatory scheme to transport nearly 50 vulnerable immigrants, including women and children, from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard without shelter or resources in place.” “No human being should be used as a political pawn in the nation’s highly polarized debate over immigration,” Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, said in a statement.

“This cowardly political stunt has placed our clients in peril. Numerous laws were brazenly violated to secure media headlines,” Oren Sellstrom, the group’s litigation director, added.

Read a full copy of their lawsuit here.


Chris Coons blasts Delaware flights as ‘cruel stunt’

Chris Coons, US senator for Delaware, blasted Florida governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday, calling a rumoured plan to fly migrants from Texas to Delaware a “cruel stunt.”

He told CNN he’s been working “much of last night” with officials on the ground in Delaware to prepare for the flight.

“Simply put, what a cruel stunt to a group of folks who are applying for asylum. ‘There’s gonna be jobs and housing on either side of this flight, get on this plane,’” Mr Coons said. “And then they get off the plane and they’re like, ‘Nope. You’re 1,000 miles farther from where your hearing is going to be.’”


Rumoured DeSantis migrant flight to bypass Florida entirely

The Florida government may be reportedly funding another migrant flight from Texas, but it doesn’t appear the plane will actually touch down in the Sunshine State.

According to flight tracking data, the plane scrapped an original stop in Crestview, Florida, and is now bound for an airport in Tennessee, before its ultimate destination in Delaware.


Delaware officials say they haven’t been given any notice of potential migrant flight from Texas

Delaware officials say they haven’t been given any official notice over a potential plane full of migrants being sent from Republican states.

“The governor’s office has not received any outreach from either Texas or Florida,” a Delaware spokesperson said on Tuesday.

That would match the pattern of previous migrant dumps, when officials weren’t given warning before multiple buses of migrants were left outside of the vice-president’s house in Washington.


Migrant flight to Delaware appears delayed

The much-hyped migrant flight today from Texas to Joe Biden’s vacation home in Delaware appears to be delayed.

According to flight tracking data, the plane designated for the flight, whose ultimate destination is the Georgetown Delaware Coastal Airport, has not yet left Texas.

Right now, the craft appears to be in the first leg of its journey, from Longview to San Antonio, Texas. According to the original manifest, the flight was already supposed to be in Delaware by now.

The Florida government has declined to confirm the flight, let alone offered public updates on it, but some critics have speculated that the controversy surrounding the migrant transports may be behind the delay.

“It appears that Ron DeSantis is having trouble rounding up more victims in his latest kidnapping spree,” Florida attorney Daniel Uhlfielder, founder of the group Remove Ron, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. Word has spread that his maps and brochures are all lies. The candyman got caught.”

Here’s our report from Alex Woodward on the brochures he’s mentioning.

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