Judge Rules in Favor of Migrants: Lawsuit Against Martha's Vineyard Carrier Moves Forward

Judge Rules in Favor of Migrants: Lawsuit Against Martha’s Vineyard Carrier Moves Forward

An immigration case against the Florida business that transported migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in 2022 can now move forward, according to a ruling by a federal judge in Boston.

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, and other others listed in the lawsuit were likewise cleared by the judge of all charges.

The lawsuit was filed by an immigrant rights group and three Venezuelan migrants. They claim that in 2022, when they were recruited and transported to Martha’s Vineyard, the governor of Florida, several members of his government, and an airline colluded to deceive them and deny them their civil rights.

Yanet, Pablo, and Jesus, the migrants, claim in their lawsuit that although they were informed they were traveling to Massachusetts, they were unaware of their ultimate destination—Marina’s Vineyard—until just before they touched down.

The plaintiffs claim that they were seen coming and getting into vans on camera by a videographer that the DeSantis administration hired. However, the plaintiffs claim that no one else in Martha’s Vineyard was aware of their impending visit, with the exception of the videographer and van drivers.

U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs states in her ruling that the lawsuit against Vertol, the airline, may move forward.

For jurisdictional reasons, Judge Burroughs rejected the allegations against Governor DeSantis and other members of his administration, but he did so “without prejudice.” This implies that as the case progresses, the legal team defending the migrants may try to re-involve DeSantis and other parties.

Judge Burroughs delivered scathing remarks to individuals engaged in the scheme in the 77-page document.

“Vertol and the other Defendants here were not legitimately enforcing any immigration laws,” she said, adding that “the Court sees no legitimate purpose for rounding up highly vulnerable individuals on false pretenses and publicly injecting them into a divisive national debate.”

The migrants’ legal representation group, Lawyers for Civil Rights, hailed the decision as “a major victory in the Martha’s Vineyard case, and it sends a crucial message: private companies can— and will— be held accountable for helping rogue state actors violate the rights of vulnerable immigrants through illegal and fraudulent schemes.”

“We are pleased that most of the case has now been dismissed and believe the Lawyers for Civil Rights are once again mistaken in their analysis of the situation,” said Brian Kelly, Vertol’s attorney.

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