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A Massachusetts district court judge recently ruled that migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in September 2022 can continue their lawsuit against the charter flight company Vertol Systems Co.

The court decided that Vertol must defend against eight of the eleven charges brought against it, while three were dismissed. State actors, including Governor DeSantis, were removed as defendants due to jurisdictional limitations.

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Judge Allison D. Burroughs criticized the defendants’ actions, saying they were not “legitimately enforcing any immigration laws,” but “Instead, as alleged, they ‘exploited the Plaintiffs in a scheme to boost the national profile of Defendant DeSantis and manipulate them for political ends.'” She added, “Treating vulnerable individuals like Plaintiffs in this way, as alleged and accepted as true for purposes of the motion to dismiss, … is nothing short of extreme, outrageous, uncivilized, intolerable, and stunning.”

Florida responds:
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Desantis said, “As we’ve always stated, the flights were conducted lawfully and authorized by the Florida Legislature. We look forward to Florida’s next illegal immigrant relocation flight, and we are glad to bring national attention to the crisis at the southern border.”

The controversy began on September 14, 2022, when migrants were transported from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, under promises of better living conditions, work, and educational opportunities that were allegedly false. This action is part of a broader tactic by GOP governors to send migrants to Democratic strongholds, aiming to highlight the consequences of perceived lenient immigration policies. The plaintiffs have leveled accusations, including civil rights violations, discrimination, and various forms of emotional distress.


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