Texas sheriff investigating after asylum seekers ‘lured under false pretenses,’ then dumped in Martha’s Vineyard for a ‘photo op’

Dozens of migrants sought shelter at a church in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts after they...
Dozens of migrants sought shelter at a church in Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts after they were flown to the island from Florida.(Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette | AP)
Published: Sep. 19, 2022 at 6:53 PM CDT
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas (KWTX) - Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar on Monday announced his office has opened an investigation after 48 migrants were lured from the Migrant Resource Center, located in Bexar County, flown to Florida, and then flown to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where they were ultimately left to fend for themselves.

Salazar said the migrants were “lured under false pretenses” and promised jobs. “They were taken for a little more than a photo op and then left stranded,” in Martha’s Vineyard, the sheriff said.

The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office is working with private attorneys who are representing the victims, as well as advocacy organizations. “We are also preparing to work with any federal agencies that have concurrent jurisdiction, should the need arise,” the sheriff said.

Salazar said the asylum seekers were in the United States legally after requesting asylum and no one had the right to remove them from Texas under false pretenses.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week took credit for flying the 48 Venezuelan migrants to the wealthy Massachusetts island after they arrived in his state from San Antonio.

DeSantis took from the playbook of fellow Republican, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, by surprising Democratic strongholds with large influxes of migrants without any notice.

“They were told that they would have a job and they would have housing,” said Elizabeth Folcarelli, who leads Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and described the scramble for shelter as a “huge challenge.”

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