California governor demands federal investigation into DeSantis' migrant scheme

Sacramento, California - California Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta called on the US Department of Justice to investigate Florida's program to transport migrants out of state.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (r.) is urging the US Department of Justice to investigate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' "Unauthorized Alien Transport Program."
California Governor Gavin Newsom (r.) is urging the US Department of Justice to investigate Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' "Unauthorized Alien Transport Program."  © Collage: Michael M. Santiago / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & Patrick T. Fallon / AFP

The two California Democrats sent a letter to US Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to open criminal and civil investigations into the Sunshine State's "Unauthorized Alien Transport Program," which saw more than a hundred migrants transported from Texas to Martha's Vineyard and Sacramento.

"It is unconscionable to use people as political props by persuading them to travel to another state based on false or deceptive representations," they wrote. "We urge USDOJ to investigate potential violations of federal law by those involved in this Scheme."

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar launched an investigation into the September 2022 Martha's Vineyard flight and found that migrants had boarded the plan under the false impression they would receive education, housing, and employment opportunities at their destination. Newsom and Bonta said this was the result of deliberate deception on the part of Florida officials.

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Newsom has also threatened Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with kidnapping charges after two planes of migrants arrived in the California capital last month.

California officials take aim at Florida's migrant transfer program

Groups of migrants receive food from the San Antonio Catholic Charities outside the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas – the place of origin of the two planes of migrants who were sent via Florida to Martha's Vineyard.
Groups of migrants receive food from the San Antonio Catholic Charities outside the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas – the place of origin of the two planes of migrants who were sent via Florida to Martha's Vineyard.  © JORDAN VONDERHAAR / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

DeSantis isn't the only elected official to engage in migrant transport schemes.

Texas' Republican Governor Greg Abbott has claimed credit for bussing more than 20,000 people out of the state to cities like New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, has also sent migrants to Texas, Florida, Delaware, and as far away as China – even while declaring a state of emergency over Texas' bussing crisis.

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The California letter does not mention either of those cases.

The US Treasury Department in October announced it was investigating whether Florida improperly used federal Covid-19 relief funds to move migrants across state lines.

Newsom and Bonta are urging the federal government to go further in opening a wider probe into the treatment of migrants in DeSantis' transport ploys.

Cover photo: Collage: Michael M. Santiago / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP & Patrick T. Fallon / AFP

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