- Hungry Venezuelan migrants were given $10 McDonald's gift cards to gain their trust, a lawsuit says.
- The gifts were part of a "scheme" by DeSantis to get them to fly from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard.
- Unnamed "Doe" defendants falsely promised that the migrants would receive employment, and housing if they boarded planes.
People working with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis gave hungry Venezuelan migrants $10 McDonald's gift certificates to gain their trust as part of a "scheme" to fly them from San Antonio, Texas, to Martha's Vineyard to advance a political agenda, according to a new lawsuit against the governor.
DeSantis, a potential 2024 presidential contender, has taken credit for chartering two planes with state funds to fly about 50 migrants to the Massachusetts island last week to protest President Joe Biden's immigration policies.
According to the federal class action lawsuit, unnamed people working with DeSantis identified and targeted the migrants, who suffer from chronic food insecurity, by "trolling streets outside of a migrant shelter" in Texas, "pretending to be good Samaritans and offering humanitarian assistance."
After offering the gift certificates, they promised the migrants educational opportunities and other assistance if they boarded planes to other states, the lawsuit says.
The migrants were put up in hotels away from the migrant center, and away "from the possibility of actual good Samaritans finding out how the class members were being abused."
They were told they were flying to Boston or Washington, DC, but were dropped off at Martha's Vineyard with no food, water, shelter, or anyone who knew they were coming. The "Doe" defendants "disappeared" after that and didn't answer the migrants' alarmed calls, the lawsuit says.
DeSantis' office did not respond to Insider's request for comment on the lawsuit's assertions.
A Texas sheriff said on Monday that he's opening a criminal investigation into the migrants' transport, saying they were "lured" with "promises of a better life."
In addition to DeSantis, the class action lawsuit names Florida Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, the state of Florida, the Florida Department of Transportation, and five unnamed "Doe" defendants.