DeSantis' office tells Texas sheriff about Vineyard probe: Migrants 'more than willing' to go

The sheriff said the migrants were "here legally" and "lured under false pretenses" to Florida and later to Martha's Vineyard.

Published: September 20, 2022 8:37am

Updated: September 20, 2022 10:25am

The office of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is saying in response to a Texas sheriff's probe into the Republican governor sending migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, that the migrants were "more than willing" to go.

A spokesperson for the governor's office said the migrants were "more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and 'left to fend for themselves,' " according to the Daily Wire. "Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction."

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, a Democrat whose jurisdiction includes San Antonio, on Monday announced that his office is opening a criminal investigation into the people who "lured" 48 Venezuelan migrants from the area to the Vineyard flight last week. 

He said the migrants transported to the affluent Massachusetts island were "here legally" and "have every right" to be in the United States.

The sheriff did not name specific laws allegedly broken but said he believes another Venezuelan migrant was paid a "bird dog fee" to recruit the migrants "under false pretenses" from a San Antonio resource center.

The migrants were then transported to Florida, then Martha's Vineyard with the promise of being able to work, he also said.

Salazar said it is "way too early to start naming any suspects," but he has several persons of interest.

"I think everybody ... knows who those names are already so I won't be naming any of them," he also said.

DeSantis' office acknowledged that Florida played a role in moving the migrants.

The migrants are being well cared for, "unlike the 53 immigrants who died in a truck found abandoned in Bexar County this June," DeSantis' office has also said, referring to the dozens of migrants who died in June in an overheated tractor-trailer in a smuggling attempt.

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