Will Florida Gov. DeSantis Face Federal Kidnapping Charges? Local Civil Rights Group Investigates

All eyes are on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland as the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston declined to comment on whether federal laws were broken when Venezuelan migrants were kidnapped under the auspices of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “relocation program.”

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston declined to comment yesterday on whether Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis faces a possible prison sentence in connection with his role in tricking migrants to board a plane for Martha’s Vineyard in violation of federal law and international treaties.

Whether or not the U.S. Justice Department acts, Lawyers for Civil Rights, the same group that forced Haverhill into switching to mostly ward councilors and school committee members, is investigating what crimes may have been committed by DeSantis and others.

Lawrence Airport officials also wouldn’t comment publicly on whether they are taking steps to prepare for unannounced arrivals of migrants by chartered planes. Gov. Charlie Baker, however, today called up 125 National Guard members to help shelter and feed men, women and children from Venezuela at Joint Base Cape Cod.

“We do not have any further comment,” a spokesperson for U.S. Attorney Rachel S. Rollins told WHAV by email yesterday, referring to inquiries to the Justice Department in Washington. Likewise, newly appointed Lawrence Airport Manager Francisco Urena acknowledged WHAV’s inquiry, saying he passed it on to airport commissioners.

Lawyers for Civil Rights said it is helping to connect Venezuelan migrants with local services “to ensure their immediate needs are met.”

“At the same time, we are also investigating the inhumane manner in which they were shipped across the country, to determine the responsible parties, whether state or federal criminal laws against human trafficking and kidnapping were violated, and what other legal remedies are available,” said Executive Director Iván Espinoza-Madrigal.

Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said today, “While Wednesday’s arrival on Martha’s Vineyard was unexpected, the extraordinary response was not. The work of so many state and local partners exemplify the best values of our Commonwealth, providing safe shelter, food and care for individuals that had been through a long harrowing journey.”

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