The state of Florida picked up asylum seekers at the southern Texas border on Monday and sent them on a private plane to the California capital at taxpayer expense for the second time in four days, California officials said, sparking allegations that migrants were tricked, taking shelters and social workers by surprise.
As California Attorney General Rob Bonta investigated the transfer of the migrants, local officials and religious groups searched for ways to provide shelter, food and other resources for the 36 newly arrived migrants. Most are from Colombia and Venezuela, and California was not their final destination.
Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, called his Florida counterpart Ron DeSantis a “pathetic little man” on Twitter and hinted that California could file kidnapping charges against him.
Republican governors of Texas and Arizona have previously sent thousands of migrants by bus to New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, but the charter flights represent an escalation of tactics.
The two groups that were sent to Sacramento never made it through Florida. Instead, they were approached in El Paso by people with Florida-related documentation, shipped to New Mexico, and then put on private planes to the California capital, California officials and activists said.
Bonta, who met with some of the migrants who arrived Friday, said they told her two women who spoke broken Spanish approached them and promised jobs. The women accompanied them by land from El Paso to Deming, New Mexico, where two men accompanied them on the flight to Sacramento. The same men were on the flight Monday, Bonda added.
“Seeing other state governments and officials, and Florida State Governor Ron DeSantis, act so cruelly, inhumanely and immorally, and be mean and petty and hurtful and harmful to these vulnerable asylum seekers, just boils over. the blood,” Bonta said Monday during an interview.
Some of the migrants who arrived Friday told Bonta that they had met during their nearly three-month journey to the United States and decided to stay together to stay safe while sleeping on the streets of different countries, he said. The group came from Colombia and Venezuela and was made up of all adults, although one woman just turned 18 during the trip, she added.
Of the new arrivals on Monday, 16 came from Venezuela, two from Colombia, one from Mexico and one from Nicaragua, he said. They are all between 21 and 30 years old.
They stayed at the airport for a couple of hours, where they were fed before being sent to a "religious institution," Sacramento County spokeswoman Kim Nava said.
DeSantis fights back
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday defended his state's decision to send migrants by air from the country's southern border to California.
“I think the border should be closed. I don't think we have to go through any of this," said DeSantis, speaking during a meeting with police chiefs near the Arizona-Mexico border. “But if there is a policy to have an open border, then I think sanctuary jurisdictions should be the ones to deal with that.”
The DeSantis administration said this week that the 36 migrants the state recently sent from El Paso, Texas, to Sacramento, at taxpayer expense, traveled voluntarily, contradicting allegations that the individuals were coerced with false promises. to make the trip.