DeSantis Accused of

DeSantis Accused of "Kidnapping" Illegal Immigrants on Spanish Language Univision

Mateo Guillamont
Mateo Guillamont
|
September 23, 2022

Orlando- Univision Orlando interviewed Criminal Law Attorney Jose Rivas to hear his perspective on Governor Ron DeSantis’ decision to relocate illegal immigrants to Democrat-run areas is nothing less than "kidnapping."

Jose Rivas, who owns a criminal law firm and is a frequent invitee of Univision, alleged that illegal migrants were “misled” and their liberty “restrained” by Gov. DeSantis when he flew them from Texas to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts.

Rivas was asked about the potential laws that may have been breached during DeSantis’ migrant flight's operation. In response, Rivas asserted that migrants were misled or their liberty restrained by DeSantis’ administration.

“…(Human trafficking) law simply requires that a person be misled or that their liberty be restrained by the perpetrator, which is what happened in this case (DeSantis’ migrant flights)," said Rivas.

Alternatively, news sources across the country have reported that migrants were “thankful” for DeSantis’ initiative and that they got on planes and buses willingly, while others have pushed the "kidnapping" narrative.

The interviewer also inquired upon speculation that a class action lawsuit may be brewing and what the potential implications could be for the migrants’ legal status if the suit is successful.

Rivas explained that the migrants can apply to two visas granting them legal status for a period of years in the United States.

“The first visa, a T-visa, enables them to claim victimhood of Human trafficking, and stay here for four-years," said Rivas, adding, " The other visa, a U-visa, is for people who have been victims of a crime.”

According to Rivas, in the ‘migrant flights’ case, such crime would be being “kidnapped”.

Yet Section 787.01 of Florida Statutes requires the presence of force or the threat of use of force for kidnaping allegations. Up to now, no allegations regarding DeSantis’ use of force or threat to use force have been made, so it is unclear how migrants would substantiate that they were kidnapped, as claimed by Attorney Rivas.

Here is the Spanish to English translation of the Univision interview:

Univision— We welcome Jose Rivas, who is analyzing this lawsuit against the governor. According to your experience, what are the laws that may have been breached in DeSantis’ operation?

Rivas—It is being alleged that DeSantis violated Human Trafficking laws. When we think about Human Trafficking, we picture the forced movement of humans. However, the law does not require a “force” component, the law simply requires that a person be misled or that their liberty be restrained by the perpetrator, which is what happened in this case (DeSantis’ migrant flights).

Univision—We wanted to ask what the charges could be if this suit is successful.

Rivas—Human trafficking, in specific human trafficking charges substantiated by allegations that a group of similar persons was misled into moving to a specific place by arguments that such place would offer them better quality of life. Which is what supposedly occurred here in order to convince migrants to get on a plane, bus, and leave to another state.

Univision—A class action lawsuit is being talked about. How long can the process last and could this impact DeSantis’ candidacy for upcoming gubernatorial elections.

Rivas—Suits of these sort have to prove that all people involved have similar circumstances and that they all suffered similar treatment, i.e. discrimination. In this case DeSantis’ operation was targeting illegal immigrants of the same race. If it can be demonstrated that Governor DeSantis acted without a legitimate interest and only with political interest, then it can affect him, as it is illegal in Florida to transport illegal immigrants across state lines knowing that they are illegal immigrants.

Univision—How could the illegal status of the plaintiffs be resolved?

Rivas—- Interestingly, if it can be proved that these individuals were subject to human trafficking, they can apply to visas granting them legal status for a period of years in the United States. Under  the first visa, a T-visa, they can claim victimhood of Human trafficking, and stay here for four-years. The other visa, a U-visa, is for people who have been victims of a crime, in this case being kidnapped.

Florida State Senator Jason Pizzo has file a lawsuit against DeSantis, CFO Jimmy Patronis, and Sec. of State Jared Perdue, and the Department of Transportation.

Publisher Javier Manjarrés contributed to this story.

Mateo Guillamont

Mateo Guillamont

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