Texas sheriff investigating flights to Martha’s Vineyard

Sep 19, 2022, 4:41 PM | Updated: Sep 20, 2022, 9:31 am
FILE - Migrants, who arrived on a flight sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, gather with their belon...

FILE - Migrants, who arrived on a flight sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, gather with their belongings outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha's Vineyard. A Texas sheriff on Monday, Sept. 19 opened an investigation into two flights of migrants sent to Martha's Vineyard by DeSantis, but did not say what laws may have been broken in putting 48 Venezuelans on private planes last week from San Antonio. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP, File)

(Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP, File)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas sheriff on Monday opened an investigation into two flights of migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, but did not say what laws may have been broken in putting 48 Venezuelans on private planes last week from San Antonio.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, an elected Democrat, railed against the flights that took off in his city as political posturing. But he said investigators had so far only spoken to attorneys representing some of the migrants and did not name any potential suspects who might face charges.

He also did not mention DeSantis in a news conference that appeared to mark the first time a law enforcement official has said they would look into the flights.

“I believe there is some criminal activity involved here,” Salazar said. “But at present we are trying to keep an open mind and we are going to investigate to find out what exact laws were broken if that does turn out to be the case.”

DeSantis’ office responded with a statement that said the migrants had been given more options to succeed in Massachusetts.

“Immigrants have been more than willing to leave Bexar County after being abandoned, homeless, and ‘left to fend for themselves,'” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske said. “Florida gave them an opportunity to seek greener pastures in a sanctuary jurisdiction that offered greater resources for them, as we expected.”

The Venezuelan migrants who were flown to the wealthy Massachusetts island from San Antonio on Wednesday said they were told they were going to Boston. Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants, said they “had no idea of where they were going or where they were.”

He said a Latina woman approached migrants at a city-run shelter in San Antonio and put them up at a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she visited daily with food and gift cards. She promised jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, according to Henriquez.

Salazar said the migrants had been “preyed upon” and “hoodwinked.”

Some Democrats have urged the Justice Department to investigate the flights, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, whose district includes San Antonio.

A federal investigation might be complicated, however. It’s not clear whether anyone boarded buses or planes unwillingly, or that their civil rights were violated. The rights of asylum seekers arriving to the U.S. are also more limited because they are not citizens. The constitution, though, does protect them from discrimination based on race or national origin and from improper treatment by the government.

___

Associated Press reporters Acacia Coronado and David Fischer in Miami contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A customer looks at refrigerated items at a Grocery Outlet store in Pleasanton, Calif.,. on Thursda...
Associated Press

‘Best Before’ labels scrutinized as food waste concerns grow

As awareness grows around the world about the problem of food waste, one culprit in particular is drawing scrutiny: “best before” labels. Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. Unlike “use by” labels, which are found on perishable foods like meat and dairy, “best before” labels have nothing to do with […]
22 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden attends an event to support legislation that would encourage domestic ma...
Associated Press

Can Biden save democracy one US factory job at a time?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival — even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to […]
22 hours ago
FILE - People stand on the destroyed bridge to Pine Island as they view the damage in the aftermath...
Associated Press

Biden to focus on hurricane victims in Florida, not politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will visit hurricane-ravaged Florida with a pledge that federal, state and local governments will work as one to help rebuild homes, businesses and lives — putting politics on mute for now to focus on those in need. Hurricane Ian has resulted in at least 84 people confirmed dead, including […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, of Ky., arrives to speak to reporters Sept. 7, 2022,...
Associated Press

GOP optimistic about Senate chances despite Walker turmoil

NEW YORK (AP) — Leading Republicans are entering the final month of the midterm campaign increasingly optimistic that a Senate majority is within reach even as a dramatic family fight in Georgia clouds one of the party’s biggest pickup opportunities. And as some Democrats crow on social media about apparent Republican setbacks, party strategists privately […]
22 hours ago
Shown is the Leonard L. Williams Justice Center housing the Court of Chancery in Wilmington, Del., ...
Associated Press

EXPLAINER: Musk Twitter turnaround reflects legal challenges

WASHINGTON (AP) — News that Elon Musk has agreed after all to proceed with his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter may have felt like a stunning surprise from the brash billionaire who loves to shock. It sent shares of the social media platform soaring and stoked alarm among some media watchdogs and civil rights […]
22 hours ago
FILE - A miner processes gold he illegally extracted from the Madeira River in Nova Olinda, Amazona...
Associated Press

Big Brazilian gold refiner delisted amid Amazon mining probe

MIAMI (AP) — One of Brazil’s biggest gold refiners, which processes gold suspected of being mined illegally in the Amazon rainforest, has been stripped of an important industry seal of approval that global manufacturers from Apple to Tesla rely on to root out abuses in their supply chains. An investigation by The Associated Press in […]
22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
(Courtesy Condor)...
Condor Airlines

Condor Airlines shows passion for destinations from Sky Harbor with new-look aircraft

Condor Airlines brings passion to each flight and connects people to their dream destinations throughout the world.
Texas sheriff investigating flights to Martha’s Vineyard