California Governor Gavin Newsom is calling for an investigation into whether federal laws were broken in the actions by Texas and Florida to send migrants to other states, the most recent being Gov. Ron DeSantis’ who sent two planes to Martha’s Vineyard, MA.
“What [DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott] are doing isn’t clever, it’s cruel. I’m formally requesting the DOJ begin an immediate investigation into these inhumane efforts to use kids as political pawns,” Newsom wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
More from Deadline
Earlier this week, Abbott sent two buses with migrants to the Washington, D.C. residence of Vice President Kamala Harris, an effort to call attention to the immigrants who have crossed the southern border.
In his letter, Newsom wrote, “Like millions of Americans, I have been horrified at the images of migrants being shipped on buses and planes across the country to be used as political props. Clearly, transporting families, including children, across state lines under false pretenses is morally reprehensible, but it may also be illegal.”
Newsom cited reports that several of the individuals sent to Martha’s Vineyard were induced to taking the trip on the pretense that they would be “transported to Boston and receive expedited access to work authorization.” He called on the Justice Department to investigate whether laws on kidnapping and racketeering were broken, and whether it constituted a civil rights conspiracy.
Nikki Fried, who serves as Florida commissioner of agriculture, said that she also is asking the Justice Department “to investigate Ron DeSantis’ political human trafficking.”
DeSantis wrote on Twitter earlier on Thursday, “In Florida, we take what is happening at the southern border seriously. We are not a sanctuary state, and we will gladly facilitate the transport of illegal immigrants to sanctuary jurisdictions.”
He said at an event, “The minute even a small fraction of what those border towns deal with every day is brought to their front door, they all of the sudden go beserk and they are just so upset this is happening.”
I’m formally requesting the DOJ begin an immediate investigation into these inhumane efforts to use kids as political pawns. pic.twitter.com/x2sBa06nSw
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 15, 2022
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said “there is a legal process in place” for managing migrants, but that governors “interfering in the process and using migrants as political pawns is shameful, is reckless, and just plain wrong.”
She noted that Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) voted against Biden’s request for Department of Homeland Security funding.
She added, “The fact that Fox News, and not the Department of Homeland Security, the city or local NGOs were alerted about a plan to leave, including children, on the side of a busy DC street makes clear that this is just a cruel, premeditated political stunt. This is what they are doing.”
Best of Deadline