SAN ANTONIO — A county sheriff in Texas announced on Monday that he had opened a criminal investigation into flights that took 48 migrants from a shelter in San Antonio to the island resort of Martha’s Vineyard last week.
Sheriff Javier Salazar of Bexar County, which includes San Antonio, said that he had enlisted agents from his office’s organized crime task force and that it was too early to determine which laws might have been broken. But he said it was clear that many of the migrants had been misled and lured away from Texas to score political points.
The migrants, caught in a mounting political fight between Republican governors of border states and Democratic officials, were flown to Massachusetts by Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida last week. A day later, Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas sent two busloads of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in Washington.
More than two million undocumented immigrants, a record, have been arrested along the southern border this fiscal year, according to Customs and Border Protection data released on Monday.
The Venezuelan migrants who were taken to Martha’s Vineyard said they had traveled for more than two months, crossing the perilous Darién Gap before continuing through Central America and Mexico.
In interviews with reporters, they described being approached in San Antonio by a well-dressed woman who introduced herself as Perla; she handed out gift cards for fast-food restaurants and offered to take them to “sanctuary” in Massachusetts.