Immigration Attorney Says Migrants in Martha’s Vineyard are Victims of Kidnapping

A Boston immigration attorney says the nearly 50 migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard by Governor Ron DeSantis can consider themselves victims of kidnapping.

Rachel Self, who has an immigration law firm in Boston, says the migrants’ accounts “make it clear that they were lied to again and again and fraudulently induced to board the planes.”

  • According to Self, the migrants were promised jobs and housing on their arrival, while Martha’s Vineyard barely has the facilities to accommodate them. Self said that Florida officials “very intentionally chose not to call ahead to any single office authority on the island so that even the most basic human needs arrangements could be made, ensuring that no help awaited the migrants at all was the entire point.”

Self said it was a clear attempt by Florida authorities to ensure the migrants were removed from the U.S. once reaching Martha’s Vineyard. Florida authorities fraudulently instructed the migrants to change their address with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) once they relocated. Self said it’s “troubling” as the agency isn’t the one with which the migrants should have recorded their addresses.

Self called it a “purposeful derailment designed to prevent people from complying with federal immigration policy.”

“We believe they are victims of kidnapping, and the perpetrators of this breathtakingly cruel political stunt should know that it may well result in every individual who was induced onto those planes by fraud becoming eligible for a U visa,” Self wrote in a statement she read to reporters.

A U visa is a non-immigrant visa granted to those who cooperate with authorities in the investigation of a crime, and are therefore protected from deportation.


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