Updated Tuesday, September 20, 2022 at 7:49 p.m.
It’s been clear since the first busload of migrants departed from Texas for so-called sanctuary cities in the north that the Republican governors were OK ceding any moral argument about the policy of involuntary relocations. Now the victims of the most high-profile of those incidents are fighting back in the courts.
Migrants who were say they were tricked into flying from Texas to Florida and eventually dropped off on Martha’s Vineyard last weekend filed a class action lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who they say masterminded the “premeditated, fraudulent, and illegal scheme” for his own political benefit. The plot, they say, violated several federal laws.
The federal lawsuit was filed this evening, as public officials on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line were already taking a close look at whether DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have a legal leg to stand on in their ongoing shipments of migrants to northern cities.
If you were among the people who thought, “How can that be legal,” when you first heard that governors like Abbott and DeSantis were trafficking humans across state lines to score political points, count yourself in the company of the mayor of the country’s biggest city as well as a sheriff in the heart of deep-red Texas, both of whom are looking into what kind of legal action could be taken to rein in the practice.
New York Mayor Eric Adams said on Monday that he’d instructed his city attorneys to look into whether legal action could be taken against states, specifically Texas, that have spend busloads of migrants to be dropped off in his city. Adams confirmed yesterday that a migrant woman died by suicide in a city shelter, although its unclear if she was one of the thousands that have been bussed to New York by Abbott.
Adams isn’t the only one looking into legal action over the migrant shipments. Bexar County, Texas, Sheriff Javier Salazar announced on Twitter yesterday that he’s opening an investigation into an incident in which a Venezuelan migrant was allegedly paid a “bird dog fee” to lure other migrants from a local shelter in the county.
The 48 migrants, he said, ended up being among those on a now-infamous charter flight sent from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard, arranged by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and paid for with taxpayer funds. The Root has reached out to the U.S. Justice Department to see if the feds were also investigating any possible violations of law, but we haven’t yet received a response.