The mysterious blonde woman “Birla” is at the center of the Martha Enab Al-Muhajir controversy

The mysterious blonde woman “Birla” is at the center of the Martha Enab Al-Muhajir controversy

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Examples abound of a mysterious blonde woman in San Antonio, Texas, who may have misled some of the 50 Venezuelan immigrants who arrived on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday into thinking they were going elsewhere, getting jobs or even money, like a political ploy designed by the Republican Party. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis begins to face more scrutiny and criticism.

key facts

A 22-year-old man named Eduardo told Texas Tribune That a tall blonde woman who said her name was Birla approached him at the Immigrant Resource Center in San Antonio, days after he entered the country, promised him a job and a place to live in Boston, and offered him $200 to recruit other immigrants to join. is on the plane, Boston Globe mentioned.

Only after stopping several times to refuel on charter flights, including one in Crestview, Florida, according to flight tracking website FlightAware, was Eduardo told he was landing at Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Cape Cod. Texas Tribune.

Ardenis Nazareth, who also came to Texas from Venezuela, told a similar story to The New York Timessaying that Birla offered him and 30 other immigrants McDonald’s gift cards and a free flight to a “sanctuary,” adding that he believed he would fly to Boston, not an island.

Reuters reported that a 27-year-old Venezuelan man named Luis also said Perla had offered him and nine relatives support for 90 days, help with work permits and English lessons.

And a man named Emmanuel said, San Antonio report Birla said she could help send him to “safe haven countries” that had more immigration resources.

On Friday, the Texas-based League of United Latin America Citizens offered a $5,000 reward for information that could help identify the woman known as Birla, who is now at the center of a renewed national debate on immigration.

DeSantis, who took credit for the charter flights, denied allegations that the migrants had been misled, and said at a news conference Friday that they acted voluntarily.

main critic

Immigration rights groups, including Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights, as well as state officials from Florida and Massachusetts and the governor of California. Gavin Newsom (d) The Department of Justice called for an investigation into the scheme, with Newsom calling it not only illegal but “morally reprehensible,” lawyers for Lawyers for Civil Rights told Lawyers for Civil Rights. The New York Times They will seek an injunction in federal court in the coming days on due process and civil rights violations against DeSantis as they try to stop the practice of flying migrants across the country.


Speculation arose on Twitter in the days after flights landed about whether DeSantis had violated a federal law banning the transportation of illegal immigrants if they entered the United States “in violation of the law,” but some legal experts She believes the law does not apply because the Department of Homeland Security has released immigrants while their immigration cases are over. Martha’s Vineyard attorney, Rachel Self, has also announced that she will resort to legal avenues, calling on local, state and federal authorities to gather evidence in the scheme, and referring to the immigrants as “kidnapping victims.”

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โ€œUsing humans โ€” families and children โ€” as political pawns tells us much more about Governor DeSantisโ€™ cruelty and disdain for human life than it does for the people of Marthaโ€™s Vineyard,โ€ Self said.

the shadow

The controversial move would likely hurt DeSantis in Florida where Latinos – especially Cuban and Venezuelan immigrants, trusted Republican voting blocs in recent years – could tide over for Crest in the gubernatorial race, Orlando Sentinel mentioned. DeSantis, who was first elected in 2018 on a pro-Trump platform, has taken a hard line on immigration, promising to move immigrants north to Democratic-led communities and states, including Delaware, the home state of President Joe Biden. DeSantis has a three-point lead over Charlie Crest, according to a poll published earlier this month commissioned by AARP (50% to 47%).

main background

DeSantis has allocated $12 million in government funding for a program to move illegal immigrants from Florida to Democratic-run states. It is seen as a potential strategy to make national headlines in the expected 2024 presidential campaign, though he hasn’t said explicitly whether or not he will run. It’s also part of a larger political move to move the immigration battle away from the southern border to Democratic-run states, as Republican governors, including Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, have sent thousands of immigrants in buses to Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. This is fueling a national debate on human rights and immigration. Last October, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) introduced a bill that would create ports of entry in Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, North Hero, Vermont – where Senator Bernie Sanders (First Texas) spends his summers – and the East The other is coastal resort communities.

in-depth reading

DeSantis demands credit as dozens of Venezuelan immigrants arrive at Martha’s vineyard (Forbes)

DeSantis’ tactic of sending migrants to Martha’s vineyard likely did not violate smuggling laws, experts say (Forbes)

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