Venezuelan migrants flown to California from Texas not part of GOP operation, activists say

Two groups of Venezuelan migrants transported separately to Sacramento last week were sent by a Texas agency directing travelers to a non-existent immigration registration location, an advocacy group told The Times on Wednesday.

While the eight men, who crossed the border in Laredo, Texas, did not know why they were traveling to California, the move was not part of efforts by Republican governors in Texas and Florida to ship migrants to liberal cities and states, according to NorCal Resist volunteer Autumn Gonzalez.

Instead, a Texas shelter working with the newly arrived migrants appears to have offered them a plane ticket to Sacramento because their immigration documents showed registration with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement in that city, González said.

Paperwork also ruled men, who landed September 15 in separate groupswhat they were told would be a shelter for temporary housing, Gonzalez said, but the address was a closed office building in downtown Sacramento.

The unexpected arrival of the migrants immediately raised concerns that they were being targeted by Florida government agents. Ron DeSantis or the Governor of Texas. Greg Abbott, who transported immigrants out of their states.

Migrant group filed federal class action lawsuit lawsuit against DeSantis, claiming Venezuelans who traveled to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., were lured onto planes under false pretences. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has joined other Democratic governors in calling on the Justice Department to investigate the incident.

Gonzalez, whose group provides migrant services and advocates for immigrant rights, said that although the men who arrived in Sacramento were not part of a resettlement effort, advocates remained concerned about the misdirection of their registration.

“The problematic part is [Customs and Border Protection] putting the address of a non-existent shelter on their documents as the place they were to report to,” Gonzalez said, noting that none had any contacts or resources in the city.

The men refuse to speak to the media, Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez added that NorCal Resist and volunteers were able to provide migrants with housing and groceries. Some members of the group have already volunteered to move furniture for a Syrian refugee family. Another non-profit group stepped in to organize a football game for men.

Some are now considering relocating to Sacramento, she said.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials did not respond to questions about why immigrants would be assigned registration locations so far from their final destination. The men who arrived in California intended to go to New York, Florida or Utah.

Yet for years lawyers have documented cases in which immigration seekers have been asked to appear in remote locations or given the wrong addresses, which can be crucial for asylum seekers who must register with ICE.

In a case documented by BuzzFeed Newsa Honduran national had his physical address listed as “Facebook” by a Border Patrol agent. WNBC New York in August reported some immigrants were given fake addresses to supposed shelters in New York, such as “111 unknown”. In two cases, an officer appeared to sign the papers with an emoji of a face with one eye closed and tongue stuck out.

Marisa Limón Garza, executive director of Las Americas, an El Paso-based nonprofit immigration advocacy group, said recent actions by Abbott and DeSantis have strengthened partnerships in communities willing to help immigrants.

California and Boston helped displaced Venezuelans, which circumvented the political theater that elected officials were trying to mount, she said.

Garza said the support these immigrants have found reminds him of how Ukrainian refugees were welcomed by neighboring countries during the Russian invasion.

“That’s how we operate every day on the southern border,” Garza said. “I have no doubt in my mind that there are similar people in Sacramento and Chicago. All of these areas are doing the same thing by really showing that a person can be welcomed even though they may not have obtained complete information during this trip.

El Paso is a perpetual crossing point for migrants entering the United States, she said. In previous years, migrants from other Central and South American countries typically spent a few days in the city before connecting with relatives who could sponsor them to stay in the country legally. But that is not the case for many Venezuelans, who generally do not have connections in the United States.

Garza said this disparity creates a backlog and highlights glaring problems facing the broader immigration system.

She also said cities and states receiving immigrants will need federal assistance if they are asked to continue their humanitarian assistance.

“It goes back to [Biden] administration and in Congress because the good people of Sacramento are doing what I imagine is a tremendous job and are happy to do it,” Garza said. “They are going to need the support of the federal government to find solutions that will make sense for the community in the longer term.”