Sheriff recommends charges over DeSantis migrant flights

  • A Texas sheriff is recommending charges over the flying of migrants
  • Last year, nearly 50 migrants were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard
  • It’s unclear who the sheriff is recommending charges for at this time

(NewsNation) — A Texas sheriff is now recommending criminal charges in connection to the flying of nearly 50 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard last year at the direction of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A spokesperson with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office told The Hill it has “officially filed a completed criminal case” with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office about the transport of 49 Venezuelan migrants in September.

“The charge filed is unlawful restraint and several counts were filed, both misdemeanor and felony,” the spokesperson told The Hill.

Is the sheriff’s office targeting the company flying the migrants, DeSantis, or those in his inner circle? It’s not clear who the sheriff’s office is recommending charges for yet.

Around the time of the migrant flights last year, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar insisted that the migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard were victims of a crime and claimed they were “lured” under “false pretenses.”

Last year, DeSantis responded to criticism of flying out the migrants with the following statement from his office: “Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and ‘left to fend for themselves.’ Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected. Unless the MA national guard has abandoned these individuals, they have been provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing and more options to succeed following their unfair enticement into the United States, unlike the 53 immigrants who died in a truck found abandoned in Bexar County this June.”

Immigration attorney Michael Wildes believes it was not DeSantis’ place to move the migrants.

“This is like the Wild West on immigration. The deafening silence in Washington has resulted in every state of the union doing what it wants to do,” immigration attorney Michael Wildes told NewsNation host Dan Abrams. “The governor of Florida was strutting his stuff in a very theatrical move. He took the people who came into the United States and moved them from Texas to Massachusetts, to Martha’s Vineyard. He had no legal authority as a governor to do that.”

The case is currently under the review of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office. It’s unknown if they will pursue charges.

This comes as California officials claim the state of Florida picked up migrants along the Texas border and flew them to Sacramento on Monday for the second time in a matter of days.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom suggested the state could pursue kidnapping charges and called DeSantis a “small, pathetic man.”

DeSantis, who is campaigning for his 2024 presidential run, has not yet made a statement about the California migrants.

Other Republican governors also have bused or flown migrants to Democratic-led areas across the country to protest border security policies.

The Associated Press and The Hill contributed to this report.


Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on NewsNation