The House Homeland Security Committee is asking both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to open investigations into flights organized by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) transporting asylum seekers to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.
Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said the panel was concerned that migrants who had recently crossed the border in Texas “were coerced to board the flight through false information. According to press reports, the migrants were intentionally misled into believing that the flight was destined for Boston and that they would receive shelter and expedited work permits after arrival.”
DeSantis chartered a private plane to take recently arrived asylum-seekers, many of whom had traveled to the U.S. from Venezuela, to the Massachusetts island in an effort to bring migrants to left-leaning areas he claims know little of the struggles faced by states on the border.
Though DeSantis has said the move was needed to protect Floridians, the flights he has paid some $12 million for have originated in Texas.
The letter asks the DOJ “whether any Federal laws were violated in the coercion and transport of the migrants.”
For the DHS, it requests “any coordination in their release from federal custody and any screening that may have occurred in connection to their flight within the United States.”
Neither the DOJ nor the DHS immediately responded to request for comment.
When asked by The Hill if either agency seemed receptive to taking up an investigation, Thompson said, “Well, I think a letter from the chairman of Homeland Security asking for them to review it would be enough to acknowledge that, ‘We will do something about it.’”