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A major Latino advocacy group is ramping up efforts to find a woman — one identified by news outlets this week — who allegedly lured a group of immigrants on board a flight from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard last month. s plane.
The United Latin American Citizens Union doubled its award Wednesday to $10,000 for information to locate, arrest and prosecute Perla Haydee Huerta, 43, who was identified in a New York Times report on Sunday. Authorities have not publicly identified her as a suspect or stakeholder in any criminal investigation.
At least two private jets left San Antonio last month, including one carrying as many as 48 immigrants who were told to travel to Boston, where jobs and homes awaited. Instead, the group arrived at Martha’s Vineyard, an island south of Cape Cod, surprising local officials and residents.
The flights were arranged by Florida as part of a Republican governor. Ron DeSantis’ $12 million plan to resettle immigrants to “sanctuary destinations.”
Many immigrants described their experiences as a tall, blond woman named Pera who pitched them on her travels.
The flights exacerbated a trend among Republican governors, including the governor. Greg Abbott, may send immigrants seeking better lives in their state to Democratic-led districts.
Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar opened an investigation into DeSantis’ flights that took 48 immigrants to New England, calling the flights “human rights violations.” No charges have been brought against anyone.
LULAC initially offered $5,000 for information on the mysterious woman. On Wednesday, LULAC officials said they were raising the award for the woman to answer questions under oath.
“We were able to recognize her by a photo on her Facebook page, and then the Cape Cod, Massachusetts refugee also confirmed that it was the person who approached them and made them promise three months of paid work, free housing, free food and free resources — that’s all fake,” said Domingo Garcia, LULAC’s national president. “Right now we’re focusing on trying to find her now that we know who she is.”
Garcia said LULAC intends to file a lawsuit with the Justice Department to investigate whether the woman’s and DeSantis’ actions constituted crimes under immigration law.
“Signs used to say, ‘Want to die or live.’ We want her to be alive,” Garcia said. “We want her to testify. Who paid and why did they engage in this predatory behavior?”
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