After a months-long investigation, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced that his office filed multiple criminal charges regarding Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ transportation of illegal aliens out of Texas last year.
Salazar is recommending that the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office prosecute several individuals on counts of both misdemeanor and felony unlawful restraint. However, the sheriff’s office has yet to name those involved.
DeSantis made headlines in September 2022 after sending two planes filled with 48 illegal aliens—including some from Bexar County—to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Two days after the flights landed, Martha’s Vineyard residents were seen cheering and waving the illegal aliens goodbye as they were driven to a military facility off the island.
In June 2022, DeSantis allocated $12 million to relocate illegal aliens out of Florida, later expanding his program to include individuals illegally living in Texas.
Florida’s flights followed Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s creation of a busing program, where the state paid for illegal aliens to be relocated away from strained border towns—for $1,400 per rider.
At the time, Salazar condemned DeSantis and called the flights “an abuse of human rights.”
“What infuriates me most about this case is that here we have 48 people that are already on hard times, [and] they are here legally in our country. At that point, they have every right to be where they are, and I believe they were preyed upon,” said Salazar.
Salazar claimed that Florida “lured” the illegal aliens from Bexar County’s Migrant Relocation Center and left them to “fend for themselves.”
A lawsuit filed by one of the illegal aliens who flew to Martha’s Vineyard alleges that an individual working on behalf of Florida’s government offered people a $10 McDonald’s gift card to board the plane to Martha’s Vineyard.
Following Salazar’s call for criminal charges, Texas’ U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro (D–San Antonio) condemned DeSantis.
“Governor DeSantis used fraud and deception to lure vulnerable people from San Antonio and dump them in a remote island community that scrambled to care for them,” said Castro. “This was human trafficking — and the people who perpetrated this crime must be held responsible.”
However, DeSantis has yet to halt his illegal alien relocation program.
Earlier this week, California officials accused DeSantis of flying 16 illegal aliens to Sacramento, California.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta alleged that the individuals who landed in Sacramento were found with release documents indicating they left from Florida.
Several days after the first flight, another plane carrying 20 illegal aliens landed in Sacramento. California officials said this flight appeared to have also been chartered by the Florida government.
Florida officials later told Fox News that their state arranged the Sacramento flights and that the illegal aliens volunteered for the trip and signed waivers.