TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom called on the Department of Justice to look into whether actions to send migrants to Martha’s Vineyard constituted “kidnapping” charges.
In a tweet posted Thursday, Gov. Newsom said, “Clearly, transporting families, including children, across state lines under false pretenses is morally reprehensible, but it may also be illegal.”
The California governor was referring to a controversial effort from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to send two planes full of “illegal migrants” to Martha’s Vineyard in an effort to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director said.
During a Thursday press conference, DeSantis defended his order for the flights saying in part, “we are not a sanctuary state and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction,” referring to the assistance offered in other states like Massachusetts, New York, and California. “Yes, we will help facilitate that transfer for you to be able to go to greener pastures,” DeSantis added.
In Newsom’s letter penned to Attorney General Merrick Garland, the governor writes, “Several of the individuals who were transported to Martha’s Vineyard have alleged that a recruiter induced them to accept the offer of travel based on false representations that they would be transported to Boston and would receive expedited access to work authorization. The interstate travel at issue provides a basis for federal jurisdiction over this matter.”
While Newsom did not explicitly mention Florida or Texas, he urged the DOJ “to investigate whether the alleged fraudulent inducement would support charges of kidnapping under relevant state laws.”
According to a previous statement from DeSantis’ Communications Director, $12 million was appropriated ” to implement a program to facilitate the transport of illegal immigrants from this state consistent with federal law.”
The statement added, “Florida’s immigration relocation program both targets human smugglers found in Florida and preempts others from entering.”