Attorneys representing more than 30 immigrants who flew to Massachusetts urge criminal investigations



CNN

Also representing attorneys 30 of the migrants He flew to Massachusetts this week, asking the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts and the state’s attorney general to open criminal investigations into the flights.

While civil rights lawyers offer free legal aid to communities of color and immigrants, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis criticized the flights as a “political stunt” in a press release Saturday.

DeSantis earlier this week sent two planes carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. Democratic politicians were outraged And the underlining is ongoing Efforts by Republican governors They protest what they say are insufficient federal efforts to secure the southern border, and move migrants to the liberal north.

Located on the Massachusetts coast and long known as a luxurious summer destination for wealthy vacationers, Martha’s Vineyard provided an unusual and unexpected place for immigrants to be sent.

Edgartown City Administrator James Haggerty told CNN on Thursday that officials believe all of the evacuees are from Venezuela. A local fire chief said the evacuees included seven families and four children between the ages of 3 and 8.

Community members from the island quickly rallied to donate food and clothing to the migrants. In addition, residents and others from different parts of the country Raised over $175,000 After the influx of immigrants, according to Beth Folcarelli, CEO of the nonprofit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

Immigrant lawyers said their clients did not know they were being taken to Martha’s Vineyard in particular.

They were prompted to board flights with “representations of Work Aid and Immigration Relief in Boston,” prosecutors said in a news release.

DeSantis pushed back on claims that the migrants didn’t know where they were going because he said they signed a waiver and were given a packet including a map of Martha’s Vineyard that “clearly shows where they’re going” and that it was all “voluntary.”

Rachel Rollins, the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, told reporters Thursday that she would speak with members of the Justice Department about DeSantis’ actions, saying she did not have enough information to say whether he broke any laws in sending the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. He added that their first priority was to ensure that visitors were treated with respect.

A spokeswoman for Rollins’ office in Massachusetts told CNN on Saturday that they had no further comment.

Chloe Gotsis, a spokeswoman for the Massachusetts attorney general’s office, told CNN on Saturday that the office is working to “review all relevant information.”

“We are communicating with our federal and state partners, with attorneys who represent immigrants, as we gather the facts and evaluate all legal options,” Kotsis said.

CNN previously reported Officials said the migrants were taken to the military base on Friday morning to receive shelter and humanitarian support.

DeSantis has pledged to continue his efforts to resettle migrants.

“These are early efforts,” the Florida governor said. “We’ve got an infrastructure now. A lot more is going to happen.”

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