Alianza Americas Tuesday filed a class-action lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on behalf of nearly 50 migrants flown from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The case is in federal court in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
On September 14, a plane of Venezuelan migrants arrived at Martha’s Vineyard Airport. DeSantis, who confirmed in a comment to NPR that he had chartered the plane under a state program approved by the Florida legislature, told migrants they would find shelter and jobs in Martha’s Vineyard. Martha’s Vineyard officials were not informed of the migrants’ arrival ahead of time. As a result, local officials had to scramble to activate emergency operations and source food, water, and emergency shelter.
The complaint alleges that a scheme of inducement and deceit by the defendants induced the migrants to board the plane. The complaint asserts that the migrants were promised that they would receive employment, housing, and educational opportunities if they boarded the plane. Additionally, the complaint lists causes of action based on constitutional violations, civil rights conspiracy, false imprisonment, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Alianza Americas is asking the court to enjoin DeSantis from further inducing more migrants to “travel across state lines by fraud and misrepresentation.” Alianza Americas is also seeking compensatory, emotional distress, and punitive damages for the migrants.