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Ron DeSantis Should Be Charged With Kidnapping For Migrant Flights, State Leaders Say

Ron DeSantis Should Be Charged With Kidnapping For Migrant Flights, State Leaders Say
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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' political stunt may have amounted to kidnapping.

Local and state officials across the country are calling for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to face criminal charges after a political stunt that may have amounted to kidnapping.

Last week, a flight of South American migrants unexpectedly arrived in Sacramento. While the investigation is ongoing, California Attorney General Rob Bonta has said that those on the plane “were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida," suggesting that the Florida government was behind the ordeal.

In responding to the incident, California Governor Gavin Newsom directed a tweet to DeSantis, writing: “you small, pathetic man. This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard. Kidnapping charges?” He also linked a section of California penal code, adding, “read the following.”

“Every person who, being out of this state, abducts or takes by force or fraud any person contrary to the law of the place where that act is committed, and brings, sends, or conveys that person within the limits of this state, and is afterwards found within the limits thereof, is guilty of kidnapping," the highlighted section reads.

Last September, DeSantis bragged about sending dozens of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts as part of a migrant relocation effort. On a plane sent by the Florida government, 49 migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard from San Antonio, Texas, prompting an investigation from the local sheriff's office.

Sheriff of Bexar County, Javier Salazar, has since filed a criminal case with the county's district attorney, recommending charges of unlawful restraint against DeSantis and Florida officials.

“The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office has officially filed a completed criminal case with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office regarding the incident from September 2022 where 49 migrants were flown to Martha’s Vineyard,” a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office told The Hill. “The charge filed is Unlawful Restraint and several accounts were filed, both misdemeanor and felony. At this time, the case is being reviewed by the DA’s office."

While no charges have yet been filed, Rachel Self, attorney for the migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard, has also called for DeSantis to be prosecuted, saying many of her clients did not know where they were being sent, and were sent under false pretenses after being promised jobs or payment.“

The fact that no charges have yet been filed has clearly left the Florida authorities with the impression that they can keep acting this way with impunity,” she said in a statement. “The people who perpetrated this need to know: no matter who you are, you aren’t above the law. A lesson needs to be taught.”

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