When dozens of migrants showed up in Martha’s Vineyard, there was quick action to get them off the island. Now, a lengthy legal battle is brewing over the decision to send them there in the first place. But the narrative is nothing new. Migrants have been relocated to democrat-run sanctuary cities for months. Tens of thousands have been transported to New York City, Washington D.C. and Chicago. It’s “Destination Martha’s Vineyard” that has invoked political warfare.
Headlines erupted nationwide with claims migrants had been misled. Now, several migrant families are suing Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and the state of Florida.
“We are also seeking damages for our clients for the harrowing experiences they have survived through this fraudulent scheme perpetrated by Governor DeSantis, the state of Florida,” Ivan Espinoza, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, representing Martha’s Vineyard migrants said.
DeSantis responded by publicly releasing the consent forms migrants signed before agreeing to travel to Martha’s Vineyard.
The signed consent forms had each migrant agree to hold the benefactor or its designed representatives harmless of all liability during the agreed transport.” The law firm representing the migrants rejects that notion.
“The consent forms themselves are further evidence against the defendants,” Espinoza said. “It was missing material information that would have been needed for our clients to make an informed decision and to provide consent.”
The lawsuit said some migrants thought they were going to arrive in Washington D.C. but on the consent form released by the Governor’s Office, Massachusetts is described as the “final destination.”
The lawsuit also claimed Florida was “luring plaintiffs (the migrants) by exploiting their most basic needs” like food and shelter. They cite examples of migrants given gift cards and free hotel stays.
“We’re talking about a group of highly vulnerable immigrants, people who were lured by $10 McDonalds cards,” Espinoza said.
But Gov. DeSantis said migrants who decided to leave Texas for Martha’s Vineyard did so on their own accord.
“It was clearly voluntary and all the other nonsense your hearing is just not true, and why wouldn’t they want to go given where they were?” DeSantis said in a Fox interview.
Putting the text of the lawsuit allegations aside the text of the consent forms is indicative a muddied battle of “he said she said” will likely ensue in court. The migrants are seeking unspecified damages from the suit and want to see an end to the transporting of migrants.
“We are seeking a nationwide injunction to block Governor DeSantis in Florida from engaging in these activities that endanger human live,” Espinoza said. But Gov. DeSantis has doubled down, promising more flights to come.