Texas sheriff announces investigation into Martha’s Vineyard flights


A Texas sheriff said Monday afternoon that his agency will open an investigation into the transportation of 48 Venezuelan migrants from the state to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar, a Democrat, said at a press conference Monday that he believes a Venezuelan migrant was paid a “bird dog fee” Wednesday to recruit 50 migrants from a San Antonio resource center.

The sheriff said he believes laws were not only broken in Bexar County to transport the nearly 50 migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, but parallel laws were also broken on the federal side.

Hear about the Venezuelan migrant sent to Martha’s Vineyard

A total of 48 migrants were “lured” to a hotel where they stayed for two days, according to Salazar.

The migrants were taken to Florida and then transported to Martha’s Vineyard under “fake intentions,” he said.

The sheriff said they were taken to Martha’s Vineyard “for a photo op and they were left dry.” He believes the migrants were “exploited and tricked” into making the journey for political posturing.

The sheriff is speaking with a lawyer representing some of the migrants to get a first-hand account of what happened, Salazar told reporters.

He said the allegations he has heard so far are “disgusting and a violation of human rights”.

Salazar believes that there should be accounts of what happened.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has complained about migrants flying to Martha’s Vineyard. At a news conference Friday, DeSantis said they all turned him down and he knew where they were going. “Obviously they were going there,” he said, “Everything is voluntary.”

Salazar said he will work with federal agencies and welcomes support from the White House.

“Parts of this litigation will have to become fully federal, and there will have to be coordination that goes with that,” he said. “So, absolutely, I would welcome the White House or anybody else in the federal party to give them a call and help with whatever they can,” he said.

President Joe Biden met with members of his administration on Friday to discuss immigration issues.

A White House official said the meeting comes after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sent two busloads of immigrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ Washington residence on Thursday and DeSantis sent two planes carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

Biden has accused Republicans of “playing politics with people” and “using them as props” to answer those mistakes.