California Governor Gavin Newsom and other officials have requested an investigation into the transport of illegal immigrants from Republican-led border states to their jurisdictions under false pretenses. In a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, Governor Newsom, along with California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar of Texas, raised concerns about a program funded by Florida that allegedly misled migrants seeking asylum into traveling to California and Massachusetts.
Governor Newsom and his co-signatories acknowledged that it is common for local jurisdictions and non-governmental organizations to assist with onward travel from the border. However, they referred to the recent efforts as a “scheme,” explaining that recruiters deceived migrants by promising them jobs and shelter if they traveled to certain locations. Citing reports by the Los Angeles Times and other media outlets, the letter highlighted that some migrants who arrived in Sacramento may have been induced by deceptive representations about access to employment, housing, or other services.
The transport of illegal immigrants from Texas to California and Massachusetts has been carried out as a form of protest against what Republican lawmakers perceive as President Joe Biden’s lenient immigration policies. Last September, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican who is currently running for president in 2024, organized the transportation of around 49 illegal immigrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard. In June, Florida admitted to sending two flights carrying illegal immigrants to Sacramento.
Governor Newsom’s letter emphasized that while ongoing investigations into potential violations of state laws are underway, the Department of Justice (DOJ) possesses the “unique capability” to conduct investigations in cases that span multiple states. The letter requested the DOJ to open criminal and civil investigations into the matter. It also mentioned that the Bexar County sheriff’s office had submitted a criminal case to the district attorney regarding the flights to Martha’s Vineyard, alleging that the migrants were deceived and persuaded to accept the free travel based on false promises.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta has pledged to investigate any potential misconduct by Florida officials in connection with the flights that arrived in Sacramento. On the other hand, Florida Governor DeSantis defended the flights, arguing that sanctuary jurisdictions like California share the blame for the illegal immigration crisis. The letter did not address the actions of Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who has also transported numerous illegal immigrants by bus to cities such as Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
Governor DeSantis has criticized the lack of federal action in safeguarding U.S. sovereignty and territorial integrity. He specifically targeted sanctuary jurisdictions in June, suggesting that they should face the consequences of the ongoing illegal immigration crisis. The influx of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border has increased significantly since President Biden took office. Additionally, Florida has experienced arrivals by boat at its maritime border, with individuals coming from countries such as Haiti.
As a result of the transportation of illegal immigrants to sanctuary cities, the cities themselves, including New York and Chicago, have encountered difficulties in managing the influx of migrants. The request for an investigation by Governor Newsom and his co-signatories underscores the need to address the issue and ensure that migrants are not deceived or misled during the asylum-seeking process.