Massachusetts seeks human trafficking probe targeting Florida Gov. DeSantis over asylum seekers

Massachusetts seeks human trafficking probe targeting Florida Gov. DeSantis over asylum seekers

Judd Legum reports:

Popular Information 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.

Last Wednesday, two planes landed in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and dropped off about 50 migrants from Venezuela. DeSantis quickly took credit. The migrants were used as political pawns in the hopes of provoking a negative reaction from a liberal community.

“When people are brought to their front door, they go berserk,” DeSantis said. “Their virtue signaling is a fraud.” But the people in Martha’s Vineyard did not go berserk. Instead, they rallied together to provide shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities for the group. On Friday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) facilitated their voluntary relocation to Joint Base Cape Cod, which is “a safe temporary accommodation appropriate for the specific needs of families and individuals.”

The charter flights appear to be inspired by a Tucker Carlson monologue from July 26, in which the notoriously xenophobic host suggested sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in “huge numbers.” [Continue reading…]

USA Today reports:

Authorities in Massachusetts said Sunday that they have requested a federal human trafficking probe after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis boasted of sending about 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard to shine a national spotlight on immigration issues.

“We are requesting that the Department of Justice open an investigation to hold DeSantis and others accountable for these inhumane acts,” state Rep. Dylan Fernandes tweeted Sunday. “Not only is it morally criminal, there are legal implications around fraud, kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, and human trafficking.”

Fernandes said he had spoken with Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachel Rollins and was “grateful to hear she is pushing for a response from the DOJ.” [Continue reading…]

CNN reports:

A familiar quiet had descended by Friday afternoon on the tree-lined downtown block on Martha’s Vineyard, where Jackie Stallings, 56, could not stop thinking about a young Venezuelan — she was 23 but looked 15 — who sat with her in the St. Andrew’s Parish House the night before.

The asylum seeker showed Stallings cell phone video taken during the journey across a remote Central American jungle, pointing out migrants who died along the way.

“It was like she was showing me cat videos but it was actually their journey and what they endured to get here,” said Stallings, a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Community Services nonprofit. “There were bodies and moms with babies trying to get through mud that was like clay.”

“The heartbreaking part is seeing these beautiful young ladies become desensitized,” said her husband, Larkin Stallings, 66, an Oak Bluffs bar owner who sits on the nonprofit’s board. “For them, they just flip and show you a picture.”

Stallings cut him off.

“She was like, look, this one died, part of their original party. And he died and this one died. The mud is like to up to here to them,” she said Friday in the shade of the parish house porch, pointing to her thigh. “And you see them, they literally have to lift their legs out the mud. They die because they get stuck.”

During their whirlwind 44-hour visit this week, migrants like the young Venezuelan woman left an indelible mark on their accidental hosts in this isolated enclave known as a summer playground for former US presidents, celebrities and billionaires. [Continue reading…]

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