Migrants in Martha's Vineyard
Migrants in Martha's Vineyard Reuters

A group of several dozen Venezuelan migrants who mere deceitfully taken from Texas to Martha's Vineyard in 2022 by the Florida government could get U.S. visas as compensation, La Opinion reported on Tuesday.

Concretely, they could get the benefit for being "victims of a crime," considering they were misled into going to the island. Speaking to the Boston Globe, immigration lawyer Rachel Self said that immigrants who cooperated with the investigation that ensued after the incident were able to request U nonimmigrant status.

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, this status is "set aside for victims of certain crimes who have suffered mental or physical abuse and are helpful to law enforcement or government officials in the investigation or prosecution of criminal activity."

"It's another step toward justice. They say that anyone who knows all the facts can't simply ignore the criminality of the actors," Self added.

The migrants were also recently cleared to sue the charter company that took them there. According to The Associated Press, the migrants can proceed with their suit against Florida-based Vertol Systems Co.

Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights, said the ruling shows that private companies can be held accountable for helping states through actions that, he said, violate the rights of vulnerable immigrants.

"Unlike ICE agents legitimately enforcing the country's immigration laws ... the Court sees no legitimate purpose for rounding up highly vulnerable individuals on false pretenses and publicly injecting them into a divisive national debate," the court said in a passage of its ruling.

The document also mentions DeSantis, but the court said it does not have jurisdiction over whether he can be sued or not.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Jeff Swensen/Getty Images.

The event garnered national attention in 2022 as it took everyone but Florida authorities by surprise. Migrants said they were never told they'd be taken to Martha's Vineyard from Texas, nor its residents had any prior notice.

The New York Times reported that Texas Governor Greg Abbott was not aware of the initiative either, and that a woman with experience in military counterintelligence, Perla Huerta, was sent from Tampa to Texas to fill the planes.

Once taken to Martha's Vineyard, the migrants were taken to a community center and told to knock, but the woman who opened it didn't know who they were and didn't speak Spanish. Most migrants ended sleeping in an air base and left to other places a few days later. At least four stayed and lived there for at least a year.

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