Massachusetts Democrats call on Buttigieg to look into DeSantis migrant flight

Democrats from Massachusetts are asking Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to investigate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) flight of almost 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. earlier this month.

“The Department should use all tools within its authority — including enforcement of its consumer protection rules — to ensure that migrants are not transported under false pretenses as part of a competition among wannabe Trump acolytes to claim the mantle of cruelest governor in the United States,” wrote Sen. Ed Markey and Reps. Bill Keating, Lori Trahan, Stephen F. Lynch, Jake Auchincloss and Seth Moulton.

The lawmakers said in their letter, first reported by Politico, that the “conduct … may have violated DOT’s Charter-Broker Rule.” The Trump-era regulation bars those who arrange charter air transportation from misrepresenting the route of a flight.

They added that the state and Florida officials may qualify as charter brokers if they were involved in the alleged misrepresentation of the flight destination.

A lawsuit filed by some of the Venezuelan migrants claims that they were told they were being sent to Boston or Washington, D.C. before being dropped off in Martha’s Vineyard.

“We urge DOT to swiftly investigate the company and individuals responsible for these representations and take all necessary action to protect migrants from such dishonest behavior,” wrote the Massachusetts lawmakers.

“To the extent that any of those individuals or entities misled migrants about flight details, they may have violated the Charter-Broker Rule and be liable for a civil penalty,” Markey and his colleagues added.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) have also sent migrants to cities run by Democrats, including Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago, in a protest of immigration laws.

The Hill has requested comment from DeSantis’s office on the Massachusetts Democrats’ letter.

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