Migrants were given brochures with false promises of help. Who made them?

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BBefore boarding planes bound for Martha’s Vineyard, a group of about 50 migrants in San Antonio, Texas, were handed a trifold brochure titled “Massachusetts Refugee Benefits.”

A front page featured a photo of a Massachusetts Department of Transportation highway sign that read “Massachusetts Welcomes You” above an image of the state.

The back, in English and Spanish, had the name, phone number and website of the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants, a state agency that assists resettlement agencies and works with community groups to provide assistance to newly arrived refugees.

But the agency had nothing to do with the flyer. The flyer was made to look like a government document, falsely suggesting that the group of mostly Venezuelan people seeking asylum in the US would be eligible for monetary assistance, housing, food, job training, job interviews and other benefits.

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“These brochures do not belong to us and we do not know at this time who is printing or distributing them,” Chief of Staff Falah Hashem said. UKTN.

The brochure suggested that passengers would qualify — if they interacted with the agency and other community and faith groups listed in the flyer — for up to eight months of financial aid, help enrolling their children in schools, and furnishing their houses, with which they would also receive help.

Immigration attorney Matt Cameron told Popular Information, the brochures first reported that the migrants who boarded the planes “have absolutely no access to cash, housing and other resettlement benefits”.

The brochures were obtained by Lawyers for Civil Rights, a Boston-area legal group representing 30 migrants sent from Texas to the small island off the coast of Massachusetts last week.

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On Friday, after spending two nights at a local church with support from a range of community groups and state and local agencies, the group was transferred to a larger shelter in Cape Cod. There they received separate rooms, health care and legal aid.

In a letter to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Lawyers for Civil Rights argued that “individuals, in concert with the Governor of Florida, have made numerous false promises to our clients, including job opportunities, education for their children, and immigration assistance, to encourage them to travel.”

The passengers were told the plane would land in Martha’s Vineyard, not Boston, only when the flight was airborne, according to executive director Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal and process director Oren Sellstrom.

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“Once the planes landed, those who had incited our customers to travel under these false pretenses disappeared, telling our customers that the aid offered had all been a ruse to exploit them for political ends,” they wrote.

Many of the group’s customers were held in hotels until flights were filled and booked, lawyers said.

“This kind of conspiracy to deprive our clients of their liberty and civil rights and disrupt federal immigration procedures must be thoroughly investigated for criminal law violations,” they wrote.

On September 19, the Bexas County, Texas sheriff announced that his office had opened an investigation into whether the migrants were “lured” to the planes and “ultimately left to their own devices” in Massachusetts.

A family leaves Martha’s Vineyard on September 16 for larger shelter in Cape Cod.

(UKTN)

So much remains unclear about the migrants’ journey from Texas to Massachusetts, how Florida officials identify and collect migrants in other states to send them to so-called “sanctuary” states and cities, and how state funding has been earmarked for the maneuver. from Governor Ron DeSantis is paying for it from several states away.

The Florida Department of Transportation paid Oregon-based aviation company Vertol Systems Company $615,000 on Sept. 8, according to state data.

The reason: “UNAUTHORIZED FOREIGN REMOVING PROGRAM”.

A week later, the group of migrants was flown from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, which Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has claimed and defended — as part of a $12 million operation to remove migrants from the state. The Vertol Systems Company website was down on Monday.

Requests for comments from UKTN – including how the company uses state money – have not been returned.

A family leaves the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, Texas, on September 19.

(Getty Images)

After the economic and political collapse, medicine and food shortages and violence in Venezuela, millions of people have fled.

The number of Venezuelans seeking entry into the US has steadily increased in recent years. In July, US customs and border security officials reported that the number of encounters with Venezuelan migrants exceeded 17,000, tripling the number reported a month earlier.

“Failing” regimes in Venezuela, as well as Cuba and Nicaragua “are driving a new wave of migration across the Western Hemisphere, including the recent increase in encounters on the US southwestern border,” said a statement from US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Chris. magnus.

Meanwhile, Republican governors in Arizona, Florida and Texas have bussed thousands of migrants from their states, spending tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars doing so, in protest of what they have characterized as the “open border” agenda of President Joe Biden.

After reaching the border and turning to authorities, migrants seeking asylum must undergo “credible fear screening” to determine whether returning to their home country could expose them to further persecution or threats. After a screening, they are released pending a hearing on their asylum case.

It was at this point, near the Migrant Resources Center in San Antonio, that the group of migrants targeted by people ostensibly working through Governor DeSantis’ operation was sent to Massachusetts.

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Disrupting an already complicated asylum process by sending people 2,000 miles from where those claims began could cause more chaos in the lives of the migrants, immigration lawyers and attorneys have told UKTN last week.

After Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s recent flights and bus trips to cities across the US, San Antonio has advised migrants “not to accept rides or other assistance from strangers” outside the downtown area.

The League of United Latin American Citizens, the largest Latino civil rights organization in the nation, is circulating “Wanted” leaflets in the city seeking information about a woman several migrants said had cheated them with false promises of work and staff.

The organization has offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to her “identification, arrest and conviction.”

The group said it is wanted for “complicity in a conspiracy to make innocent refugees commit crimes by offering work” without legal work permits, “lying and deceiving” while being used as “political props” and “fraud and possibly civil violations of rights.”

Eduardo Linares told the Texas Tribune that he had been promised help with rent and work, and “that was the only option left to us.” He ultimately declined the offer.

“She promised them three months of work,” the group’s national president, Domingo Garcia, told IPS. The Washington Post. “According to the immigration law, they are on parole here. They have a hearing date. It is illegal for them to work. So she seduces them to work, which is a federal crime. She tempts them to break the law.”

Governor DeSantis’ administration has repeatedly defended the program, telling reporters last week that it plans to “exhaust” the $12 million earmarked for the cause.

“I have $12 million for us to use, so we’re going to use it,” he said Friday. “And you’re going to see more and more.”

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