Saturday, September 17, 2022

DeSantis's "Sickeningly Cruel" Actions Are Worse (And More Illegal) Than You Thought

Rachel Self,  an immigration attorney based in Boston (my emphasis):
Accounts from the migrants who arrived last night make it clear that they were lied to again and again and fraudulently induced to board the planes. They were told there was a surprise present for them, and that there would be jobs and housing awaiting them when they arrived. This was, obviously, a sadistic lie.

Not only did those responsible for this stunt know that there was no housing and no employment awaiting the migrants, they also very intentionally chose not to call ahead, to any single office or authority on Martha's Vineyard, so that even the most basic human needs arrangements could be made. Ensuring that no help awaited the migrants at all was the entire point.

They were provided with a cartoonishly simple map of Martha's Vineyard and the United States and a brief brochure containing snippets from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website — and instructions to report their change of address to USCIS when they relocated. This is especially troubling, as anyone with even the most basic understanding of immigration proceedings knows that USCIS was not the agency with whom the migrants would have to record their address and has nothing to do with their cases in any way.

It is clear this was an intentional attempt to ensure the migrants were removed in absentia when they failed to change their address with the proper agency. This was a purposeful derailment designed to prevent people from complying with federal immigration policies. This is problematic because the state should not be interfering in federal immigration policy.

Before they boarded the planes, the migrants were process by agents of the Department of Homeland Security, who listed falsified addresses on the migrants' paperwork. Agents apparently chose random homeless shelters all across the country, from Washington State to Florida, to list as the mirgants' mailing addresses, even when told by the migrants that they had no address in the U.S. According to the paperwork provided to them, the migrants are required to check in with the ICE office nearest the fake address chosen for them by DHS, or be permanently removed — with some required to check in as soon as this coming Monday

It couldn't be clearer that this is an attempt to ensure that these people are ordered removed, even as they try as hard as they can to comply with the instructions provided to them. There is no other reason to list as someone's mailing address a homeless shelter in Tacoma, Washington, and then ship them to Massachusetts. It is sickeningly cruel.

Throwing obstacles in the way of people fleeing violence and oppression, some of whom walked through ten countries in hope of finding safety, is shameful and inhuman. Many of these victims were deprived of medical care despite clear existing injuries. These people are human beings who were deprived of basic human rights.

To these wonderful people who find themselves plane-wrecked on our island, I have a message for all of them: You are not alone. We have your backs. We are proud to be here for you and we got you. If the intention of those who perpetrated this horrendous act was to create a crisis, they have failed.
In answer to a question about the migrants, Self said:
Their demeanor is kind. Their demeanor is grateful and their demeanor is that they want to be doing everything right. Their biggest concern today is that many of them have dates to appear in San Antonio, Monday morning. Tacoma, Washington, Monday morning. Washington, D.C., Monday morning. You tell me how that's possible. . . . Their biggest concern is compliance.
Self showed reporters this "cartoonishly simple map", which turns out also to be a lie, as it does not include the detour to Florida. (By the way, Fox is not being sarcastic.)

Sadly, there's more.

To make absolutely sure there would be no services and no one waiting when they dumped the migrants at the airport, the pilots filed a fake flight plan to Bedford, Mass., and then "diverted" the planes to Martha's Vineyard.
Considering how important it is to not have two or more aircraft in the exact same airspace, I am going to assume that knowingly filing an incorrect flight plan is illegal.

Indeed, every portion of every step in this depraved process involved either a lie or a crime . . . or both.

On Saturday, DeSantis's campaign tried to make jokes about the compassion shown to the migrants and did nothing but advertise its own stupidity and lack of empathy. (A) Mid-September is the off-season in MV and the "billionaires" have left their summer homes; the only people there now are actual residents. (B) Although extremely wealthy people have advantages, they cannot call out the National Guard whenever they feel like it. (C) Being transferred to a different city in the same state is not what "deported" means. (D) Froot Loops is two words. (E) A woman who runs a Venezuelan restaurant showed up with multiple trays of food, so the migrants could have some comforting and familiar food.

As has been widely noted, it those Always-Mentioning-Jesus fascists could learn a thing or two about compassion from those godless coastal elite liberals.

These heartless actions by DeSantis and Abbott are not new. These far-right governors are following in the path of earlier racists, who did the exact same thing 60 years ago.
Daniel Uhlfelder is a lawyer and candidate for Attorney General of Florida. He bills himself on Twitter as "chief tormentor of Ron DeSantis".
DeSantis just used COVID-19 relief money he opposed to traffic 50 Venezuelans across the country. DeSantis only won his 2018 election by approximately 32,000 votes. Florida has the largest Venezuelan population of any state - 102,116 or .5% of the state's population.

According to this article, Governor Abbott denied any involvement in chartering planes. The $12 mil program DeSantis created from interest on COVID-19 relief funds he opposed gives authority to transport illegal aliens from Florida.

DeSantis flew them from Texas to Florida so he could presumably use these funds to say he was transporting them "from" Florida [Note: The plane did make a brief stop in the Florida panhandle.]

Governor DeSantis enjoys no immunity from human trafficking or smuggling across state lines.

Apparently, Governor Abbott denies any involvement in this human trafficking stunt. So, how does a Governor from a different state (DeSantis) have authority to transport these individuals from another state across the country?

Answer: He doesn't.
Charlie Crist, who is running against DeSantis in Florida, tweeted:
Ron won’t answer questions so we looked ourselves: FL paid Vertol Systems $615,000 on Sept 8th out of the $12m deportation fund. So Floridians paid $12,300 for each refugee DeSantis trafficked for his own political purposes.
Vertol Sytems Company Inc. is based in Destin, Florida.

Vertol Sytems is owned by James Montgomerie. Vertol also is managing member of company affiliated with Destin developer Jay Odom called Zeppelin Holdings. Odom went to prison for laundering campaign funds for Mike Huckabee's presidential campaign.
Note: Montgomerie is "a very, very conservative republican" who has had "government contract[s] for at least 22 years". In what is an interesting coincedence, he claims his company is "the only civil company currently operating Russian helicopters in the United States." . . . Maybe not a coincedence: 
NEWS: The little-known aviation company awarded the migrant "relocation" contract by the DeSantis administration purchased 6 helicopters from the Russian government in 2018 for $42 million. Other significant business with Kremlin-adjacent companies.

The Russian government bodies involved in the transaction, the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant, and its parent company Russian Helicopters were sanctioned this year for proving support to the Russian military in Ukraine.

The Florida company awarded the migrant contract has also purchased aircraft parts from a Russian government contractor that is embroiled in an embezzlement scandal.

* * *

So, how does DeSantis coordinate paying $600k to a helicopter company based out of Destin, FL with ties to well known Republican donor who went to prison for laundering funds for Mike Huckabee transport 50 migrants from Texas to Martha's Vineyard.

I just called the owner of the business that got paid $615,000 by DeSantis to help transport 50 migrants across the country this week. I will provide updates going forward.

I’m now at the hangar where the company that was paid $615k at DeSantis’s request to traffic 50 human beings across state lines is headquartered. Strange, because I was told the company was just a flight school not a human trafficking company.

DeSantis’s relocation statute requires two bids for these contracts. I wonder what other flight school program bid for this human trafficking gig.

DeSantis knew if you wanted to pull off a crime like this the best place to do it is the Florida panhandle.

Planes land at Crestview airport. DeSantis pays $615k to crooked Destin vendor to carry it out. Stay tuned as we uncover all the players.

I guess the $615,000 doesn't cover the $25 a month WIX fee for DeSantis's human trafficking vendor. Their website just went dark.

Strange how the company DeSantis authorized to pay $615,000 to traffic 50 migrants no longer has a working website. I left message for head of company and visited their headquarters earlier today. It's a 4 person operation that trains pilots.

Because Justice . . . . . . . . . . . Matters!

1 comment:

Paul Hickman said...

Sadly this fits the Playbook - IF any "normal" person had done what Tronald Dump or Ron Death Sentence have been up to, they'd probably be in Jail for a Century

It's just as though they are tempting the DoJ to charge them, it'll add to their long list of Conspiracies & Grievances