Human trafficking victims and a one-month-old: Florida and Texas migrant transports moved over a dozen kids

Texas alone has sent thousands of migrants to liberal cities

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Monday 19 September 2022 20:42 BST
Ted Cruz admits trafficking migrants to Martha’s Vineyard is illegal in Sean Hannity interview

Last week, the Republican governors of Florida and Texas sent well over a dozen migrant children, including one as young as one month old, on highly controversial plane and bus trips to liberal locales across the East Coast.

The children were among the over 100 asylum-seekers, many of them Venezuelan dispatched to Martha’s Vineyard, New York City, and Washington DC.

On Friday, Florida chartered two planes that sent roughly 50 migrants, many of them waiting in Texas, for their legally protected asylum claims to process, to the wealthy island of Martha’s Vineyard.

The group included about a dozen children of elementary school age, Richie Smith, the island’s superintendent of schools, told the MV Times. Children as young as two were on the flights, reported NPR. Some of the kids were reportedly hula hooping as local officials scrambled to find emergency housing for the migrants.

One family told the Texas Tribune they and their 7-year-old daughter had endured abductions and beatings from a Mexican drug cartel as they made their journey from Peru to the US.

“When they told us that they were going to help us with the rent, to get a job, that was the only option left to us,” one of the migrants, Eduardo, said.

The White House condemned the flights on Friday.

"These were children. They were moms. They were fleeing communism. And what did Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott do to them? They used them as political pawns, treated them like chattel," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at a press briefing on Friday.

Numerous asylum seekers say they were enticed to take the journey with false claims of work, housing, and social services allegedly offered by a mysterious woman only known as Perla.

Officials have condemned the flights as a form of “human trafficking.”

“Shipping vulnerable migrants across the country is not a campaign tactic. It is human trafficking,” U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, a former refugee herself, said on Thursday. “It is the abuse of dozens of human beings and a celebration of that abuse for political gain.”

Others have suggested that if migrants and their families were lured onto the flights under false pretenses, it could be grounds for a criminal investigation.

Multiple children were also photographed on a trio of buses carrying over 100 people that the state of Texas sent to vice-president Kamala Harris’s doorstep at the Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, on Thursday and Saturday.

Among the group was a one-year-old baby, the Washington Post reports. Numerous children were photographed on the at least 15 buses full of migrants the state of Texas sent to New York City over the weekend.

Kids were photographed sleepily getting off the charters with oversized backpacks, bright pink sandals, and plastic bags full of belongings. Passengers on the bus rides described brutal conditions and going hungry.

“We stopped for food, but not a lot of people had cash to buy any food. I’m so, so hungry,” Gustavo Pacheco, 35, told The New York Post.

Governor Abbott has sent nearly 10,000 migrants to Washington since April with thousands more going to New York and Chicago,The Guardian reports. Both he and Governor DeSantis have stood by the policies.

"The Biden-Harris Administration continues ignoring and denying the historic crisis at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years," Mr Abbott said in a statement last week. "Our supposed Border Czar, Vice President Kamala Harris, has yet to even visit the border to see firsthand the impact of the open border policies she has helped implement, even going so far as to claim the border is ‘secure.’ Texas will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C. until President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border."

Last week, the Florida governor said more flights may be to come, and said such transports were bringing migrants to “greener pastures.”

“If you have folks that are inclined to think Florida is a good place, our message to them is that we are not a sanctuary state,” Mr DeSantis said on Thursday. “It’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you, to be able to go to greener pastures.”

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