Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has criticized and questioned the origins of a lawsuit filed against him by Venezuelan migrants who claim they were lied to when they boarded planes to Martha’s Vineyard last week.
DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske told the Post in a statement Tuesday’s lawsuit was nothing more than “political theater” staged by “opportunist activists.”
The lawsuit, filed in Boston federal court, alleges that DeSantis was involved in a “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme” to relocate the migrants to the exclusive island of Massachusetts.
“If these activists were to spend even a fraction of that time and effort at the border, perhaps some responsibility would be taken for the Biden administration’s ruthless border policies, which lure illegal immigrants into making dangerous and often fatal journeys across Central America and.” putting their lives in danger at the hands of cartels and coyotes,” Fenske said.
The migrants allege in the lawsuit that they were scammed and told they were being sent to Boston or Washington DC — not the posh Liberal enclave off Cape Cod.
They were lured into the trip with small perks like $10 McDonald’s gift cards, the suit claims.
“No one should be used as a political pawn,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights.
The Boston-based organization is seeking class-action status in the lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of several migrants who were among about 50 who boarded flights to Martha’s Vineyard last week.
“In or about September 2022, the defendants and their unidentified accomplices designed and implemented a deliberate, fraudulent, and illegal scheme focused on exploiting this vulnerability for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial, and political interests,” it said it in the complaint.
The complaint states that DeSantis and his transportation secretary, Jared W. Perdue, made “false promises and misrepresentations that, if the individual plaintiffs and other group members were willing to board planes to other states, they would receive jobs, housing, educational opportunities, and would receive similar assistance upon their arrival.
“Once the individual plaintiffs and group members landed, it became clear that the promises made to get them on the planes were in fact outright lies,” the lawsuit states.
DeSantis, meanwhile, has defended his decision to fly the Venezuelans to the isolated island. He said their decision to fly there was voluntary and claimed they were in a terrible state when they arrived in Florida.
According to Fenske, who provided The Post with a copy of the document, migrants filled out a consent form that was handed to them before boarding the plane.
The form, which is available in both English and Spanish, states: “I agree to indemnify the benefactor or its nominated representatives from any and all liability arising out of or in any way related to injuries and damages sustained during the agreed transportation to locations outside of Texas to final destination in Massachusetts.”
Democrats have repeated claims that the migrants were misled, and many have urged federal authorities to investigate further.
On Tuesday, the sheriff of Bexar County, Texas, which includes San Antonio, launched an investigation into whether the migrants who boarded the flights were victims of a crime.
DeSantis has ripped through the hypocrisy of his critics, who are more outraged that he flies a handful of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard than at frontier workers dying in horrific conditions.
With postal wires
https://nypost.com/2022/09/20/desantis-slams-marthas-vineyard-migrant-lawsuit/ DeSantis Slams Martha’s Vineyard Migrant Lawsuit