California authorities are investigating after 16 migrants were flown by private chartered jet and dropped off at the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento with no notice, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“My Administration is also working with the California Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances around who paid for the group’s travel and whether the individuals orchestrating this trip misled anyone with false promises or have violated any criminal laws, including kidnapping,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said in a statement Saturday.
Newsom added that his administration is working to get the migrants “to their intended destination as they pursue their immigration cases.”
The migrants, who are from Venezuela and Columbia, were taken from El Paso Texas to New Mexico, and then flown by private plane to Sacramento, according to the Sacramento Bee.
“We can confirm these individuals were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida,” California Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.
As “Catholics and people of good will” undertook the “holy work of hospitality,” California officials vowed to investigate any wrongdoing associated with transporting the people, the LA Times reported.
California’s Governor Gavin Newsom (D) suggested the action might be illegal. The Golden State’s Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) likened the action to “state-sanctioned kidnapping.” Sacramento’s Mayor Darrell Steinberg (D) used the terms “luring” and “human trafficking” in responding to the incident, also describing it as”despicable.”
No politician or organization has yet claimed they footed the bill to charter the plane and transport the migrants, the LA Times also reported.
Gov. Newsom, after meeting with “over a dozen” migrants in California’s capital city, said his administration will work to “ensure the people who have arrived are treated with respect and dignity.”
Attorney General Bonta was blunt in his comments.
“State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting. We are a nation built by immigrants and we must condemn the cruelty and hateful rhetoric of those, whether they are state leaders or private parties, who refuse to recognize humanity and who turn their backs on extending dignity and care to fellow human beings,” Bonta said in a statement.
Sacramento’s mayor was equally blunt in his assessment.
“Human trafficking is not only despicable; it’s a felony. … Whoever is behind this must answer the following: Is there anything more cruel than using scared human beings to score cheap political points,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said in a statement on Twitter.
Tuesday, California’s senate approved $300 weekly checks for unemployed illegal migrants, the Washington Free Beacon reported. An article published in the Sacramento Bee Saturday detailed the city’s seemingly intractable homelessness as its “first-world shame.”
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