Former Army intelligence agent helped DeSantis recruit migrants for Martha’s Vineyard migrant flight: report

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A former US Army combat medic and counterintelligence agent named Perla Huerta reportedly recruited migrants for Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s controversial flights in September carrying Venezuelan asylum-seekers to Martha’s Vineyard.

Police officials, a lawyer, and migrants who encountered her pointed to Ms Huerta as the recruiter for the flights, The New York Times reports.

Ms Huerta served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and was discharged last month after two decades of service, the Times reports, citing her military records.

It is unclear if Ms Huerta worked for the state of Florida or Texas.

Texas governor Greg Abbott has said he was not involved in the migrant flights out of the Lone Star State.

The Independent was unable to locate Ms Huerta for comment.

The potential identification helps clear up one of the lingering mysteries about the flight: who recruited the nearly 50, mostly Venezuelan migrants, to board the flights.

Migrants say they were promised work papers, jobs and even paid to board the flight and encouraged others to join them.

A 27-year-old Venezuelan migrant named Emmanuel told San Antonio Report that a woman named Perla gave him $200 from “an anonymous benefactor” to recruit fellow asylum-seekers outside a city-run migrant centre in San Antonio, Texas, where the flights originated.

“Perla informed me that in those sanctuary states, the state has the benefits to help migrants,” Emmanuel said. “I’ve just been the mediator because I like to help people.”“A lot of people really come without plans, they want to come and just work and they have a hand that’ll provide them shelter,” he added. “I just saw it in that way, like a sweet way, doing it for good.”

They were even given a brochure making false claims about the “Masachusetts Refugee Benefits” they’d receive upon arrival in the East Coast.

“These brochures are not ours and not sure who prints or distributes them, at this point,” office chief of staff Falah Hashem at the state’s refugee agency told The Independent.

The migrants aboard the Martha’s Vineyard flights have sued Governor DeSantis, calling the trips a “fraudulent and discriminatory scheme.”