Migrant crisis – latest: DoJ asked to ‘investigate’ Ron DeSantis for kidnapping over Martha’s Vineyard stunt

‘Just plain wrong’: White House condemns migrant flight to Martha’s Vineyard

A group of migrants flown by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis unannounced from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard will begin moving from the island to a shelter supproted by state agencies in Cape Cod.

Agencies are “coordinating efforts among state and local officials to ensure access to food, shelter and essential services for these men, women and children,” according to Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker’s office.

The governor also plans to activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard.

Mr DeSantis reportedly told a roomful of GOP donors at a fundraising event about his plans days before the island would receive 50 migrants, including families with children, most of whom initially fled Venezuela.

The White House has condemned the governor’s “deeply alarming” stunt, and immigration advocates and attorneys have suggested that the governor facilitated their kidnapping. Officials are calling on the US Department of Justice to investigate.

Federal officials are reportedly expected to discuss “litigation options” in response.

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Migrant families are being offered move to Cape Code shelter, state lawmaker reports

State Rep Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha’s Vineyard at the state House, reports that families are being offered a move to the newly announced shelter at Cape Code.

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‘Playing politics with human beings’: Biden slams GOP governors’ migrant flights

Speaking at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s annual gala on Thursday night, Joe Biden slammed GOP governors less than a day after Greg Abbott sent two busloads of South and Central American asylum seekers to Washington and Ron DeSantis funded a planeload of migrants’ transportation from Texas to Massachusetts.

“Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” Biden said.

The Independent’s Andrew Feinberg on White House reaction:

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Republicans sent migrants to Martha’s Vineyard to stoke panic. Instead, residents reacted with kindness

The arrival of 50 migrants on Martha’s Vineyard – known as a summer getaway for wealthier Americans with a relatively small, tight-knit community of permanent residents – has galvanised communities across the island off the coast of Massachusetts, providing immediate shelter and relief for a group of people and families deceptively collected into planes out of Texas, more than 2,000 miles away, at taxpayers’ expense.

The effort, of course, intends to paint the perceived liberal elitism on the nation’s East Coast as hypocritical, in protest of what the American right characterises as an “open border” that facilities “illegal” immigration into the US, while casting President Biden as responsible for the cruelty on the southern side of the US-Mexico border because he has invited migrants to it.

But advocacy groups and attorneys have criticised the administration not because it allegedly invites migrants into the US but because of a byzantine process to seek aslyum or legal entry, with thousands of people denied from having their cases heard.

Republican governors “manufacture chaos” and ignore asylum seekers in a broken immigration system, advocates tell The Independent’s Alex Woodward:

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Massachusetts governor to activate National Guard

Governor Charlie Baker announced plans to activate the National Guard among relief efforts his administration is supplying to support 50 migrants who were flown into Martha’s Vineyard by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis.

“The island communities are not equipped to provide sustainable accommodation, and state officials developed a plan to deliver a comprehensive humanitarian response,” Mr Baker’s office said in a statement released Friday.

The response includes the opening of a shelter with meals, medical and counseling services at Joint Base Cape Code, located on the mainland north of the island.

The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm reports:

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DeSantis could be charged with kidnap after moving migrants to Martha’s Vineyard

The Department of Justice has been tapped by California Governor Gavin Newsom to investigate whether Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s controversial decision to send two flights of migrants north would amount to “kidnapping”.

“I strongly urge the U.S. Department of Justice (US DOJ) to open an investigation into possible criminal or civil violations of federal law based on this alleged fraudulent scheme,” Gov Newsom wrote in a 15 September letter addressed to US Attorney General Merrick Garland.

The Democratic governor, who many speculate could make a run for president in 2024, quickly turned his emotional response to the new story into a political one by flagging his concerns to the Department of Justice that the Republican governor’s actions might be not just “morally reprehensible” but “illegal”.

“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,” wrote Mr Newsom.

Read the full report from The Independent’s Johanna Chisholm here:

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Massachusetts to open new shelter at Joint Base Cape Cod

Massachusetts will open a new shelter with additional humanitarian aid at Joint Base Cape Cod to help house the group of migrants who were sent by Ron DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard this week.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency “is coordinating efforts among state and local officials to ensure access to food, shelter and essential services for these men, women and children,” according to a statement from Governor Charlie Baker’s office.

The governor also plans to activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard.

Individuals and families will be housed in dormitory-style spaces at the base, which has historically served as an emergency response shelter. Families will not be separated, according to the governor’s office.

“Wrapound” services will include “accommodation, clothing and hygiene kits, nutrition, needs assessment, and access to health care, mental health, and crisis counseling services,” and “all services will be available in the recipient’s native language through interpreters,” the office announced.

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Hispanic Republicans say DeSantis migrant flights exposes US border issues

House Republican Tony Gonzales said while appearing on Fox Business that he believes Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to send two flights of migrants north to Martha’s Vineyard is helping to highlight the issues at the US southern border.

“I will tell you, House Republicans have highlighted all the problems, and I think America knows these problems,” said Rep Gonzales, a Hispanic House Republican who represents Texas’s 23rd Congressional District. “I say now it’s time for House Republicans to show action. We’re going to win back the majority here in November.”

“You’re gonna see us roll out this commitment to America on the 23rd, part of that commitment to America is gonna have in there what we are going to do to secure the border, and that starts with ending catch and release,” the congressman, who is up for reelection, added.

Republican Marío Elvira Salazar, who represents Florida, saw the pushback from Democrats about the migrants arriving in sanctuary cities as evidence of their so-called “hypocrisy”.

“He’s flying and he’s busing people to some of the states. So it’s the same thing,” said the Republican congressman in an interview with The Hill.

“What is the problem?” he told reporters. “If this is good, and then — and these communities should be welcoming — should be welcoming this from happening.”

Rep Carlos Gimenez, also representing Florida, said the busing program being carried out by DeSantis and Governor Greg Abbott is just highlighting the Biden administration’s foundational issues with immigration.

“What it needs to demonstrate is that the Biden administration needs to get control of the border, and I think that’s what the governor is trying to do,” said the Republican from Florida. “The Biden administration is failing America by not controlling the border. That’s — I think that’s the point that the governor is trying to make.”

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Massachusetts officials call Florida governor’s ‘secret plot’ to send migrants ‘like cattle’ a ‘depraved thing to do’

ICYMI: Massachusetts elected officials were quick to call out Florida Gov Ron DeSantis’ plot to send two unannounced planes carrying 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, labelling the Republican’s actions an “incredibly inhumane and depraved thing to do”.

“The Governor of one of the biggest states in the nation has been spending time hatching a secret plot to round up & ship people-children, families-lying to them about where theyre going just to gain cheap political points on Tucker Calrson and MAGA twitter,” tweeted state Sen Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha’s Vineyard, on Wednesday night. “It’s f***ing depraved.”

In a separate interview with NPR, the Democrat described how angry the community was with the Florida governor for treating the people he shipped onto planes north “like cattle”.

“[He] never alerted local officials and people on the ground here that they were coming. It is an incredibly inhumane and depraved thing to do,” Sen Fernandes said to the news outlet.

Early the next day, the state senator shared on his Twitter how proud he was of his community for enveloping the newcomers with compassion, rather than the chaos that they were sent off in.

“This is a community rallying to support immigrants children and families. It is the best of America,” he said while sharing pictures of the beds and breakfast that had been quickly set up to accommodate the recently arrived.

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White House calls GOP governors’ migrant flights ‘deeply alarming’

ICYMI: The White House on Thursday said Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ use of migrants to punish leaders of Democratic-led state and local governments is a “deeply alarming” stunt that placed innocent children in danger to score political points.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters that the two governors were disrupting the federal process for handling migrants and using the migrants as “political pawns”.

Andrew Feinberg has the story.

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Ken Burns says DeSantis’ actions come right from the ‘authoritarian playbook’

ICYMI: Documentarian Ken Burns compared Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ actions on Wednesday as that of an authoritarian leader.

“It’s the abstraction of human life,” said Mr Burns while appearing on CNN to promote his new documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust. The film focuses on America’s response to the Holocaust before, during, and after the Second World War.

“It’s basically saying that you can use a human life that is as valuable as yours or mine and to put it in the position of becoming a political pawn in somebody’s authoritarian game,” the famed documentarian said to CNN’s Jon Berman.

“This is coming straight out of the authoritarian playbook, this is what’s so disturbing about DeSantis is to use human beings to weaponise human beings for a politicla purpose,” he said.

“This is not the actions of a person participating in a Democratic process in which there’s an exchange of ideas this is about punishing political enemies,” he added.

Watch the full clip below:

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