Two media sites have named the lady who is accused of luring illegal migrants onto planes from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard for a covert public awareness campaign led by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The woman who recruited migrants, organised DeSantis’s flights to Martha’s Vineyard revealed
The New York Times and CNN identified Perla Huerta, a former combat medic and counterintelligence agent who now resides in the Tampa, Florida, region, as the person responsible for the contentious flights last month.
The flights were hired by DeSantis in an effort to draw attention to the migrant situation on the southern border, and according to investigators with the San Antonio Sheriff’s Office, Huerta was flown from Florida to Texas to fill them.
Apart from confirming that the funds used to fund the initiative came from a special $12 million allotment in the state’s most recent budget for the Department of Transportation, DeSantis and his advisors have been mute on the specifics of how the flights were planned and migrants were recruited.
A programme “to assist the transfer of unlawful foreigners from this state” was to be developed with the help of the monies provided to the department.
The scheme, according to the Republican governor at the time, was designed to reduce the amount of immigrants being flown in by the federal government. This summer, he turned his attention to Texas after observing that he had not yet used the funding since fewer migrants than anticipated had entered his state.
Huerta, who served in the Army for 20 years before being released last month, doesn’t seem to have created a systematic plan to move the migrants. Only 48 have been flown on Florida’s money out of the Lone Star State thus far.
That amount is insignificant in compared to the scheme sponsored by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, which has bused more than 11,000 migrants from his state to three cities with Democrat-controlled governments: Chicago, New York City, and Washington D.C.
After arriving in San Antonio, Texas, Huerta allegedly encountered Venezuelan migrants, some of whom were destitute, and made offers of food, clothing, cash, and lodging in exchange for information on others who might accept free flights to Massachusetts.
According to reports, the former spy gave each of the migrants a red folder containing a map of the United States with an arrow pointing from Texas to Massachusetts and another map of Martha’s Vineyard with dots denoting the airport and community centre where they should go for assistance. The former spy did not respond to requests for comment from CNN or The Times.
A bogus pamphlet titled “Refugee Migrant Benefits” in both English and Spanish was also included in the packet. A list of names and phone numbers for a local church, synagogue, and charitable organisation could be found on the reverse of the card, which also contained the slogan “Massachusetts Welcomes You” and an outdated state flag. For “income-eligible” refugees in the state, the pamphlet promised “up to eight months of financial support.”
The terminology seems to relate to advantages offered to refugees who enter the United States as part of the official resettlement programme, which the Venezuelans recruited for the flights were not.
The Department of Transportation paid Vertol Systems, an aviation charter business with connections to prominent Republicans, to transport the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, according to Florida state documents about the flights. Just before the planes were chartered in September, the state of Florida made two separate payments to the firm totaling $615,000 and $950,000.
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