Newsom Doubles Down on Migrant Transports as Florida Officials Deny Coercion

June 7, 2023

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) doubled down Tuesday on possible legal charges against Florida officials related to two planes of migrants sent from Texas to Sacramento.

At the same time, Florida officials are asserting that the migrants went to California willingly, rejecting claims that they were coerced.

In an interview with Politico on Tuesday Newsom countered that at least some of the migrants who were flown Sacramento appeared to have been misled and sent under false pretenses.

“When you have the smoking gun, which is the paperwork in hand that everyone hands over to you, it’s pretty self-evident,” Newsom said.

Newsom had tweeted on Tuesday hinting that he might hit Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) with “kidnapping” charges.

According to Newsom, this past Friday 16 migrants from Venezuela and Colombia were transported from Texas to New Mexico and flown on a chartered jet to Sacramento. On Monday, another plane from the same charter company carrying 20 more migrants arrived in Sacramento. 

Meanwhile, the Florida Division of Emergency Management released video that it says is evidence the migrants boarded the planes voluntariliy. 

Spokesperson for the division Alecia Collins added in a statement that “through verbal and written consent, these volunteers indicated they wanted to go to California.”

The video clips were not time stamped, and Collins declined to share additional details about when and where they were recorded.

Representatives from two religious groups helping the migrants in Sacramento did not immediately respond to requests for comment about whether the migrants in the videos were the same individuals they’ve been assisting.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta has said he plans to ask Florida to turn over any unedited video footage that it has of the migrants in question.

PHOTO: Florida Division of Emergency Management

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