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Civil rights group from Boston expands its class action lawsuit over immigrants flown to MA

BOSTON — A federal class action lawsuit over the arrival of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard via flights from Texas is expanding.

Those flights came at the direction of Florida Governor Ron Desantis, according to the suit, which alleges there was “a coordinated scheme at the highest levels of the Florida government.... to induce vulnerable Latinx immigrants in Texas to board privately chartered flights through false promises of jobs, shelter, and immigration assistance.”

On Tuesday, the Boston-based group Lawyers for Civil Rights filed an amended complaint, which adds the plane company, its CEO, Florida’s “Public Safety Czar,” Governor DeSantis’ Chief of Staff, and Perla Huerta, who is accused of spearheading the “deceptive recruitment of immigrants.”

The suit was originally filed in September, targeting Governor DeSantis.

“All actors – public or private – involved in this effort to exploit our clients for political or monetary gain will be held accountable,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, LCR’s Executive Director. “Let this be a warning to anyone thinking about becoming involved in a deceptive scheme like this in the future: do so at your peril.”

“This was an abhorrent abuse of power, and we will work to ensure that nothing like it happens again,” said Oscar Chacon, Executive Director of Alianza Americas. “Using human beings as political props is both morally repugnant and illegal.”

DeSantis’ office has previously said the civil rights group that filed the lawsuit is now using the immigrants “for political theater.”

“If these activists spent even a fraction of the time and effort at the border, perhaps some accountability would be brought to the Biden Administration’s reckless border policies that entice illegal immigrants to make dangerous and often lethal journeys through Central America and put their lives in the hands of cartels and Coyotes,” said DeSantis’ office in September.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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