California Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for a federal investigation after planes filled with migrants were sent to Martha’s Vineyard,
The office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed to NBC10 Boston Wednesday night that his state had sent two planes filled with undocumented immigrants to the Massachusetts island.
Emergency management officials on Martha’s Vineyard described it as “an unexpected urgent #humanitarian situation,” and local officials moved quickly to provide the migrants with shelter.
In a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland Thursday, Newsom said he was urging the Department of Justice “to open an investigation into possible criminal or civil violations of federal law.”
“In particular,” Newsom wrote, “I urge the US DOJ to investigate whether the alleged fraudulent inducement would support charges of kidnapping under relevant state laws, which could serve as a predicate offense for charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970.”
Newsom pointed out that some of the migrants said they were brought “across state lines under false pretenses.”
“Several of the individuals who were transported to Martha’s Vineyard have alleged that a recruiter induced them to accept the offer of travel based on false representations that they would be transported to Boston and would receive expedited access to work authorization,” he wrote. “The interstate travel at issue provides a basis for federal jurisdiction over this matter.”
California was one of three states, alongside Massachusetts and New York, that DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske singled out as “sanctuary destinations” she claimed had “invited [the migrants] into our country.”
The issue of whether Massachusetts can be described as a “sanctuary state,” as Fenske and DeSantis have claimed, is a complicated one, While there are several policies in place to protect the rights of undocumented immigrants, legislation that would codify the state’s sanctuary status has not passed.
Local leaders have been vocal since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent planes filled with undocumented immigrants to the Massachusetts island.
In a tweet sharing his letter to Garland, Newsom called out DeSantis as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, saying what they’re doing “isn’t clever, it’s cruel.”
Abbott has been busing migrants to Washington, New York and Chicago. While some Massachusetts officials initially said the migrants who arrived in Martha’s Vineyard were sent from Texas, Abbott’s office said Thursday was not involved in the flights to the island.