Florida officials fabricated ‘official-looking’ bogus pamphlet advertising refugee benefits for migrants, lawsuit against Ron DeSantis alleges

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference on September 7, 2022 in Miami, Florida.Rebecca Blackwell/AP

  • Migrants who were airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard filed a lawsuit against Governor Ron DeSantis on Tuesday.

  • The migrants were led to believe they would receive refugee benefits upon arrival, according to the lawsuit.

  • They received “official-looking documents”, including a brochure “fabricated” by Florida officials.

Florida officials and agencies used several tactics to lure migrants onto a charter flight to Martha’s Vineyard, including fabricating a bogus pamphlet that claims to receive refugee benefits, according to a class action lawsuit.

On September 14, 50 migrants, most of them from Venezuela, were flown in two chartered planes from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard as part of a political stunt by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to criticize border policies under the Biden administration. .

Now, a group of those migrants are taking action against DeSantis and other state officials and agencies in a class action lawsuit filed Tuesday. Lawyers representing the migrants accused DeSantis and Florida officials of plotting an “unlawful scheme” to “defraud vulnerable immigrants to advance a political motive.”

Part of this “plan,” according to the lawsuit, was to make “false promises and misrepresentations” of potential jobs and housing, among other benefits, upon arrival at Martha’s Vineyard.

For example, just before arriving on the island, migrants received a “shiny red folder” filled with “official-looking documents”, including a pamphlet titled “Massachusetts Refugee Benefits”.

The pamphlet contained misleading information about resettlement assistance that, in reality, was not available to migrants seeking asylum in Massachusetts, as Insider previously reported.

The lawsuit goes further, accusing DeSantis and other officials of fabricating the leaflet entirely.

“On Information and Belief, the pamphlet was fabricated by the defendants,” the lawsuit reads, adding that it “echoes the type of misrepresentation” migrants were receiving by word of mouth, such as a assistance with accommodation, food and employment. within the first 90 days of arrival in Massachusetts.

Brochure for migrants

Lawyers for Civil Rights says migrants bound for Martha’s Vineyard received this pamphlet promising money, placement and more.Civil Rights Lawyers

According to the lawsuit, the pamphlet also borrowed language from an existing state program, the Massachusetts Refugee Resettlement Program, for which none of the migrants were eligible.

“This pamphlet was not prepared by the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, or any other Massachusetts agency or immigration service organization,” the lawsuit states.

A representative from the state’s Office of Refugees and Immigrants did not immediately respond to request for comment.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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