By MADISON HIRNEISEN
THE CENTER SQUARE STAFF REPORTER
(The Center Square) — Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to open an investigation into possible violations of state and federal law in response to reports of migrants being sent to Martha’s Vineyard this week.
In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Gov. Newsom wrote that he has been “horrified at the images of migrants being shipped on buses and planes across the country to be used as political props.”
In the letter, Gov. Newsom refers specifically to a situation that occurred Wednesday night, when a group of migrants were transferred to Martha’s Vineyard after they were allegedly told they would be going to Boston.
Some of the migrants have alleged that a recruiter approached them outside a shelter in San Antonio, Texas, telling them they could be flown to Boston and provided with expedited work papers, NPR reported. The migrants arrived in Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday on two separate flights paid for by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, CNN reported.
“Clearly, transporting families, including children, across state lines under false pretenses is morally reprehensible, it may also be illegal,” Gov. Newsom said in his letter, directing the DOJ to investigate whether the alleged “fraudulent scheme” would support kidnapping charges under state law.
The governor also urged the department to investigate whether the “alleged targeting of these individuals based on their national origin, in violation of their right to equal protection under the law” constitutes a civil rights conspiracy under federal law.
Gov. DeSantis’ office could not be immediately reached for comment regarding Gov. Newsom’s request.
The transport of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard represents the latest in a series of actions by Republican governors in protest of what they claim are inadequate security measures at the southern border.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has sent several buses of migrants to cities like New York, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., in recent months. On Thursday, Gov. Abbott transferred two buses of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ D.C. residence.
During a news conference Thursday, Gov. DeSantis addressed the topic, saying “we are not a sanctuary state.”
Madison Hirneisen covers California for The Center Square.