Lawyers representing migrants dumped on Martha's Vineyard want Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criminally investigated over the 'stunt'
- Attorneys for the migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard last week are seeking an investigation.
- They want prosecutors to open a criminal inquiry into what they called a "shameful political stunt."
Attorneys for the dozens of migrants who were flown to the Massachusetts island of Martha's Vineyard have called on state and federal prosecutors to open a criminal inquiry into what they called a "shameful political stunt" orchestrated by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida.
The Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights group — which says it is representing more than 30 of the migrants — sent letters to Massachusetts' attorney general, Maura Healey, and the state's US attorney, Rachael Rollins, over the weekend, saying "criminal laws were broken by the perpetrators of this stunt."
Last week, 50 Venezuelan and Colombian migrants were flown on two chartered planes from Texas to Martha's Vineyard in a move DeSantis organized. No Massachusetts officials were notified that the dozens of migrants were coming.
The immigrants have since been relocated to a military base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
"Our clients were induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretenses," Lawyers for Civil Rights' executive director, Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, and the group's litigation director, Oren Sellstrom, wrote in the letters.
"Individuals, working in concert with the Florida governor, made numerous false promises to our clients, including of work opportunities, schooling for their children, and immigration assistance, in order to induce them to travel," they said.
DeSantis' office didn't immediately answer when asked for comment on the attorneys' statement.
Espinoza-Madrigal and Sellstrom pointed to migrants' remarks to news outlets that they were told they were going to Boston and could find work there.
"It was only when the flight was in mid-air that they were informed they would be flown to Martha's Vineyard, rather than to Boston as many had been told," they wrote in their letters.
"Once the planes landed, those who had induced our clients to travel under these false pretenses disappeared, leaving our clients to learn that the offers of assistance had all been a ruse to exploit them for political purposes," they said.
Espinoza-Madrigal and Sellstrom said their clients were robbed of their liberty.
"The perpetrators targeted our clients based on race and national origin in order to make the political point they wanted," they said.
Espinoza-Madrigal and Sellstrom added in their letter to Rollins, "This type of conspiracy to deprive our clients of their liberty and civil rights and interfere with federal immigration proceedings must be thoroughly investigated for violations of criminal laws."
They also said the matter must be investigated for "violations of the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act and all other applicable criminal laws" in the letter to Healey.
A representative for Healey, Chloe Gotsis, told Insider on Monday: "Our office continues to review all information relevant to this situation. We are in touch with our federal and state partners, along with attorneys representing the migrants, as we gather facts and evaluate all legal options."
The US Attorney's Office for Massachusetts told Insider it didn't have any comment.
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