A day after the Bexar County Sheriff's Office announced it was investigating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ migrant plane to Martha’s Vineyard, Paxton took to Twitter to call the sheriff the real criminal in the matter.
Sharing Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar’s post announcing the investigation, Paxton added: “At a time when Texas law enforcement is dealing with the impacts of the deluge of crime and drugs that have flowed across our borders, this purely partisan grandstanding is not just unhelpful, it is unlawful.”
The attorney general didn’t say which law “partisan grandstanding” violated. (You might recall that Paxton is the same guy who sued other states to overturn the results of the November 2020 presidential election.)
In his original post, Salazar said he’d opened an investigation into whoever “lured and transported 48 migrants from the Migrant Resource Center in San Antonio, TX to Martha's Vineyard.”
At a time when Texas law enforcement is dealing with the impacts of the deluge of crime and drugs that have flowed across our borders, this purely partisan grandstanding is not just unhelpful, it is unlawful. https://t.co/JY86Y18UY6— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) September 20, 2022
Last week, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott shipped more buses carrying migrants to Washington, D.C., DeSantis had a private jet chartered carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a move that has been criticized by Democrats and lauded by Republicans.
Facing backlash, DeSantis defended his move in a press conference last week. “It is not defensible for a superpower to not have any control over the territory of its country,” he said.
In a video press conference Monday, the Bexar County Sheriff said a “Venezuelan migrant was paid what we’d call a bird-dog fee” to lure migrants from the migrant resource center.
“As we understand it, 48 migrants were lured – and I will use the word lured – under false pretenses into staying at a hotel for a couple of days,” Salazar said, explaining that they were then flown to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard.
The sheriff said migrants had been “promised work” and were “unceremoniously stranded” in Martha’s Vineyard “for little more than a photo op, video op.”
“What infuriates me the most about this case, is that here we have 48 people that are already on hard times,” he said, explaining that the migrants were in the country legally.
“I believe they were preyed upon,” he added.
Salazar didn't name DeSantis in his video, but he said, "I think everybody on this call knows who those names are already, so I won't be naming any of them. But suffice to say we will be opening up a case."
Although Abbott’s office has said it was not involved in DeSantis’ move, he has sent thousands of migrants to Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., by bus in recent months.
On Monday, Abbott boasted about his border clampdown on Twitter, saying that Texas had made over 19.8K criminal arrests & bused more than 11,000 migrants to sanctuary cities.
Rights groups have accused Abbott of "political stunts" and using migrants as "pawns."