TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WFLA) — It wasn’t clear how the nearly 50 migrants that Gov. DeSantis sent to Martha’s Vineyard would gain citizenship in the US. This led to several lawsuits and ultimately the decision by a Texas sheriff to designate the migrants as victims of a crime.
The move led Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar to open an investigation into the flights.
Most recently He said in a statement, “Based upon the claims of migrants being transported from Bexar County under false pretenses, we are investigating this case as possible unlawful restraint (Tx Penal Code 20.02). We have suspects identified, however at this point in the investigation, we are not at liberty to release those names publicly or confirm any identities.”
The sheriff noted only those who were physically in his jurisdiction at the time of the offense are considered suspects.
“We have submitted documentation through the federal system to ensure the migrants’ availability as witnesses during the investigation,” he added. “We are actively working with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office and the attorneys representing the migrants. The investigation remains ongoing and we will release any updates as available.”
Despite the unclear path forward, they may now be able to apply for a “U” visa. This was made possible after Salazar signed off that the migrants cooperated with the investigation.
That special “U” visa is designated for victims or witnesses of a crime on US soil.
The activist group at the center of the class-action lawsuit Alianza Americas associate director for programs Helena Olea said, “When a person has been a victim of a crime, there is the possibility to request a U Visa and one of the requirements of the U visa is that the attorney or the sheriff who’s behind the investigation certifies that a crime was actually committed and that person needs protection.”
In addition to this investigation, the treasury department announced Wednesday they have also opened an investigation into whether the governor misused funds to pay for the flights.