Jeh Johnson says DeSantis treating migrants like ‘livestock’


(NewsNation) — The state of Florida and Gov. Ron DeSantis are facing a slew of legal challenges over an effort to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.

DeSantis is being sued by one of his state senators, and also faces a federal class action lawsuit filed by the migrants themselves.

A Texas sheriff started a criminal investigation into the governor’s migrant flights, and several Democratic lawmakers and governors are calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to look into whether migrants were misled about where they were going.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson says Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and DeSantis are “treating people like livestock” by transporting migrants to northern cities.

“I’m not prepared to pass an ultimate legal judgment on this. It does strike me, however as a political stunt, frankly. For the governor of Florida to take migrants from Texas and move them to Massachusetts I see no real legitimate state government objective there for any governor of Florida,” Johnson said. “If the legality of this comes down to whether or not it was informed consent from these migrants, that’s going to be a really difficult thing to defend.”

“For example, a lot of Guatemalans don’t speak Spanish, let alone English. They speak in indigenous dialects, and it’s difficult for me to believe that they could have possibly given informed consent to go to the state of Massachusetts, particularly if they’ve been given a notice to appear at a deposition, say in Los Angeles. And so we’re dealing with people who are not sophisticated, almost certainly don’t read or understand English, who frankly, had been treated like pawns or livestock in a political game.”

The Texas Tribune reported migrants spoke to a woman who recruited them in Texas to get on a flight, allegedly promising them jobs and food. One man said he was asked to sign documents in English that he couldn’t read.

There was also apparently confusion about where they were going — some were told they were headed for a sanctuary state, another was told Washington, D.C. It wasn’t until they were on the plane to Massachusetts that many of them figured out where they were headed.

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