• Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis chartered two planes to send 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
  • A Massachusetts state lawmaker called on the DOJ to launch a human trafficking probe into the relocation.
  • The move comes after lawyers representing the migrants said they want a criminal investigation into DeSantis.

A Massachusetts state lawmaker requested a federal human trafficking investigation into Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis relocating migrants to the island last week.

State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, a Democrat representing Martha’s Vineyard, called on the Justice Department to launch a probe after DeSantis chartered two planes for more than $600,000 in taxpayer dollars to transport 50 migrants from Texas to the island last Wednesday.

No Massachusetts officials were notified ahead of the migrants’ arrival at Martha’s Vineyard. The migrants were later moved to a military base shelter at Cape Cod, according to Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

“We are requesting that the Department of Justice open an investigation to hold DeSantis & others accountable for these inhumane acts,” Fernandes wrote in a tweet. “Not only is it morally criminal, there are legal implications around fraud, kidnapping, deprivation of liberty, and human trafficking.”

The state representative added that he spoke with Massachusetts US Attorney Rachel Rollins, who he said is also pushing the DOJ for a response to DeSantis’ actions.

Fernandes said he met with the immigrant families, saying they were in “good health and good spirits.”

“They expressed deep gratitude for how well they are being taken care of,” the state lawmaker tweeted. “In the dining hall, there is not only food but tables lining the walls where humanitarian organizations, legal services, and interpreters are working to connect the families with every resource they need.”

“As I was leaving, kids were playing catch in the field with baseball gear that was donated,” he continued. “One of the kids is meeting with a pediatrician for the first time in their life. Deeply grateful to our community and state for showing these families the dignity & respect they deserve.”

The move from the Massachusetts state legislator comes after lawyers representing the migrants said they want a criminal investigation into DeSantis over the “stunt” in letters to Rollins and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

“Our clients were induced to board airplanes and cross state lines under false pretenses,” they wrote.

The lawyers said their clients were given brochures promising cash assistance, job placement services, and more upon arriving at the Massachusetts island.

“Individuals, working in concert with the Florida Governor, made numerous false promises to our clients, including of work opportunities, schooling for their children, and immigration assistance, in order to induce them to travel,” the lawyers wrote in the letters.

Texas authorities opened a criminal probe into DeSantis’ operation, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced Monday, saying the migrants were victims of a crime after being “lured under false pretenses.”

“I believe people need to be held accountable for it to the extent possible,” Salazar said at a Monday news conference. “At this point, I’m not able to definitively say here’s the statute that they broke, either federal, state or local, but what I can tell you is it’s wrong. Just from a human rights perspective, what was done to these folks is wrong.”

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