The heart of the case is the allegation that undocumented migrants were treated by “mysterious persons” who gained their trust and induced them to board flights through false promises of jobs and assistance.
Similarly, the lawsuit points to requests to several dozen hungry migrants to sign a document, without being fully translated into Spanish, luring them with $10 McDonald’s gift certificates to gain their trust and fly them to Martha´s Vineyard.
Migrants also claimed they received brochures entitled “Benefits for Massachusetts Refugees” promising to aid them with housing, clothing and transportation to job interviews, according to The Hill newspaper.
The class-action lawsuit, filed on Tuesday in Massachusetts federal court, targets DeSantis, Transportation Secretary Jared Perdue and the state of Florida.
The Massachusetts court proceeding is being handled by a migrant rights organization called Alianza Americas and three Venezuelans representing the entire group, and outlines 12 different lawsuits, with alleged violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
“Our lawsuit alleges a great number of violations of both the U.S. Constitution and federal law. A governor cannot fraudulently induce vulnerable people to board a plane and fly over a whole nation,” one of the migrants´ attorneys, Oren Sellstrom, told The Hill.
Meanwhile, DeSantis’ legal team counters the undocumented migrants boarded the planes voluntarily, an assertion that, if proven, would negate most, if not all, of claims in the legal text.
Similarly, the Florida governor’s office also provided reporters with a copy of consent forms, listing Massachusetts as the final destination and which were allegedly signed by the migrants.
In addition to the civil lawsuit, Democratic politicians asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to probe into the Florida governor, as DeSantis is a possible presidential in 2024.