Attorneys working with migrants file federal lawsuit against Gov. DeSantis

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BOSTON – A federal civil rights class action lawsuit has been filed against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and other officials over the movement of Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard. The case was filed by the group Lawyers for Civil Rights which has been working with the migrants at Joint Base Cape Cod.

The suit claims the migrants were lured onto the planes and across state lines under false pretenses.

“No human being should be used as a political pawn in the nation’s highly polarized debate over immigration,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, Executive Director of Lawyers for Civil Rights. 

In addition to DeSantis, the suit names Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue and the State of Florida. 

“These cowardly government actors must be held accountable for their clear misuse of government power,” said Jacob Love, an LCR Staff Attorney. 

The lawsuit seeks damages for the harm suffered by the migrants.

Gov. DeSantis’ office rebuffed the lawsuit, calling it “political theater” and claiming the flights to the Vineyard were voluntary.

An attorney for the migrants said a consent form they were given was not fully translated to English.

On Monday night, a Texas sheriff announced he was launching a criminal investigation, a move that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he supports.  

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