California Governor Gavin Newsom suggested he may be considering kidnapping charges against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis after the 2024 GOP primary candidate flew a group of migrants from Texas to Sacramento on allegedly false pretences.
Mr Newsom called Mr DeSantis a "small, pathetic man" in a tweet on Monday, and then provided a snippet of the state's laws regarding kidnapping.
"Every person who, being out of this state, abducts or takes by force or fraud any person contrary to the law of the place where that act is committed, and brings, sends, or conveys that person within the limits of the state, and is afterwards found within the limits thereof, is guilty of kidnapping," the snippet reads.
On Friday, more than a dozen migrants were brought into California on a private jet. The migrants were left at a Catholic facility in Sacramento with "no prior arrangement or care in place," according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.
California officials learned the migrants crossed into Texas, where they were approached by an individual who said they could help them, according to local broadcaster KXTV. The migrants were reportedly sent to New Mexico before they were flown to Sacramento. Officials found the migrants holding documents claiming to be from the state of Florida when they arrived in California.
Mr Bonta said the state is investigating the incident and "evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants."
“While we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting.” He said both the state and the city would “welcome these individuals with open arms and provide them with the respect, compassion, and care they will need after such a harrowing experience.”
Mr DeSantis pulled a similar stunt last year when he flew more around 50 primarily Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard, where they were told jobs and access to migrant services would be provided. The GOP governor and other Republicans who support the flights argue that states like New York and California offering themselves up as "sanctuary" states invites illegal immigration.
The Independent has reached out to Mr DeSantis for comment.
Mr Newsom's spokesperson Anthony York said the administration “continues to work with the California Department of Justice as they investigate the circumstances behind these flights and will look to hold anyone criminally accountable for misleading, manipulating and transporting individuals under false pretenses. In California we work together to humanely welcome migrants, support our local communities and address the challenges of a broken immigration system with dignity and without stunts.”
The migrants are being served by a local faith-based group in Sacramento and will be processed by US immigration services, according to Deadline.