Democratic lawmakers are calling for an investigation into Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) for allegedly misleading the migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard with promises of housing and employment, according to The Hill’s reporting.
Law experts say DeSantis’ misleading claims to asylum seekers could have violated the law, and the advice they received may have jeopardized the migrants’ immigration status.
The most controversial aspect of the saga comes from brochures handed to the 50 migrants aboard the flight that details how they can register as refugees in Massachusetts, despite the group already having been processed as asylum seekers.
In a statement first published by The Hill, Rep. Nanette Barragán (D-Calif.) said “Refugees are different than asylum-seekers. Refugees get benefits; asylum-seekers do not. Refugees get approval beforehand; asylum-seekers do not. These people have all been processed — they’re not illegal because they’ve been processed by Customs and Border Protection. There’s so much here that’s just full of lies.”
The group has also been referred to as “illegal immigrants” by the state of Florida, yet the state gave each instruction on navigating the legal immigration system. This contradiction has left many wondering if Florida officials do not understand the most basic precepts of immigration law.
However, DeSantis Director of Communication Taryn Fenske defended the brochure, writing to The Hill that the “information was directly from the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants. So, it’s unclear why many in the media are portraying it as being fraudulent or incorrect.”