Feds Grant Migrants Visas for Being ‘Victims’ of DeSantis

Some of the roughly 50 Venezuelan illegal immigrants flown by Governor Ron DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard are now on the path to permanent residency, with the federal government reportedly granting them special visas this week. The so-called ‘U visas’–which are reserved for victims of potential crimes–will shield several of the migrants from deportation, allowing them to live and work in the United States for a minimum of four years.

The Boston Globe reported Monday that three of the migrants have received “bona fide determinations” from Citizenship and Immigration Services so far, and the group’s attorney is currently working to secure more visas for the group.

Following similar actions taken by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, DeSantis began transporting illegal immigrants to blue states in 2022, drawing a spotlight on the Biden administration’s failures on the southern border. One such destination included Martha’s Vineyard, a haven for wealthy Democrats, including former President Barack Obama.

It was not long after arriving at the island vacation spot that the migrants filed a class action lawsuit alleging “economic, emotional and constitutional harms.”

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While a federal judge ultimately dismissed DeSantis from the case due to “insufficient facts,” one Democratic sheriff in Texas maintains that the migrants were victims of “unlawful restraint.” While local authorities have filed no charges, Sheriff Javier Salazar’s investigation was enough to qualify the migrants for U visas.

“As we’ve always stated, the flights were conducted lawfully and authorized by the Florida legislature… We look forward to Florida’s next illegal immigration relocation flight, and we are glad to bring national attention to the crisis at the southern border.” ~ Jeremy Redfern, spokesman for Governor Ron DeSantis

The special visas, implemented by the Biden administration in 2021, can be granted to up to 10,000 migrants annually. According to the Citizenship and Immigration Services, they are “set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity.”

In their report, the Boston Globe noted that the U visas additionally serve as a pathway for migrants to obtain work authorization, and later, permanent residency in the U.S.

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DeSantis has continued to defend the transporting of migrants to blue states. In 2023, his administration chartered two additional flights, sending more illegal immigrants to California.

“These sanctuary jurisdictions are part of the reason we have this problem because they have endorsed and agitated for these types off open border policies,” DeSantis said at the time.

“They have bragged they are sanctuary jurisdictions. They attack the previous admin efforts to try to have border security … When they have to deal with some of the fruits of that they all of a sudden become very, very upset about that.”

According to figures from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, more than 7 million migrants have crossed the southern border illegally since the start of the Biden administration.

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