Politics

Migrants File Class Action Lawsuit In Federal Court Against DeSantis

Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Mary Rooke Staff Writer
Font Size:

Three Venezuelan migrants filed a class action lawsuit on Tuesday against Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and other members of the Florida state government over their flight to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Alianza Americas (a not-for-profit immigration corporation), Yanet Doe, Pablo Doe, and Jesus Doe claim the Venezuelan immigrants were exploited “for the sole purpose of advancing their own personal, financial, and political interests,” according to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court District of Massachusetts.

The migrants were allegedly enticed by people acting on behalf of DeSantis, Florida Secretary of Transportation Jared Perdue, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the State of Florida “pretending to be good Samaritans offering humanitarian assistance,” the lawsuit alleges. (EXCLUSIVE: Illegal Migrants Flown To Martha’s Vineyard Were Informed Of Destination, Documents Confirm)

The “unidentified accomplices” gained the trust and “induce[d] unwitting cooperation” from the illegal Venezuelan migrants by offering them $10 McDonalds gift certificates and paying for them to stay in private hotel rooms away from the Texas migrant shelter, according to the lawsuit.

“Defendants manipulated them, stripped them of their dignity, deprived them of their liberty, bodily autonomy, due process, and equal protection under law, and impermissibly interfered with the Federal Government’s exclusive control over immigration in furtherance of an unlawful goal and a personal political agenda,” the lawsuit stated.

DeSantis and the other defendants are also accused in the lawsuit of allegedly using $12 million in funding from the federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund to pay for the private planes that cost $615,000 or $12,300 per passenger.

The defendants face 12 allegations against them, including negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud/deceit, and false imprisonment.

A source with close contact with the ground operation that moved the almost 50 migrants told the Daily Caller on Friday that all the migrants transported from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard made informed decisions before boarding the plane. “Yes, they were asked multiple times if they wanted to go,” the source said.

DeSantis has defended his decision to fly the migrants to Massachusetts and his office released the consent form allegedly signed by the illegal immigrants before boarding the flight.

“It is opportunistic that activists would use illegal immigrants for political theater,” DeSantis spokeswoman Taryn Fenske said. “If these activists spent even a fraction of this time and effort at the border, perhaps some accountability would be brought to the Biden Administration’s reckless border policies that entice illegal immigrants to make dangerous and often lethal journeys through Central America and put their lives in the hands of cartels and Coyotes.”

“The transportation of the immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard was done on a voluntary basis. The immigrants were homeless, hungry, and abandoned – and these activists didn’t care about them then. Florida’s program gave them a fresh start in a sanctuary state and these individuals opted to take advantage of chartered flights to Massachusetts. It was disappointing that Martha’s Vineyard called in the Massachusetts National Guard to bus them away from the island within 48 hours,” Fenske added.