Newsom's Vineyard: California Investigates Illegal Immigrants' Arrival by Plane, With Paperwork Allegedly From Florida

Over a dozen illegal immigrants arrived in Sacramento, California, on a private jet without any prior arrangement or care in place according to California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom. The illegal immigrants presented documents “purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida,” according to California Attorney General Rob Bonta.


In other words, it looks like Florida Governor Ron Desantis, Republican candidate for the presidential nomination, is pulling a “Newsom’s Vineyard.” Last September, DeSantis joined Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) in a controversial move, sending two planes of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a picturesque Massachusetts island where former President Barack Obama and his spouse reside in an $11.75 million dollar estate. Many other immigrant transportation incidents have occurred, especially to Democrat-held cities, like New York and Chicago.

Newsom’s office put out a press release, writing:

Today, Attorney General Rob Bonta and I met with over a dozen migrants in Sacramento. These individuals were transported from Texas to New Mexico before being flown by private chartered jet to Sacramento and dumped on the doorstep of a local church without any advance warning. We are working closely with the Mayor’s office, along with local and nonprofit partners to ensure the people who have arrived are treated with respect and dignity, and get to their intended destination as they pursue their immigration cases. My Administration is also working with the California Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances around who paid for the group’s travel and whether the individuals orchestrating this trip misled anyone with false promises or have violated any criminal laws, including kidnapping.


The illegal immigrants, hailing from Venezuela and Colombia, were driven from El Paso, Texas to New Mexico where they stayed in a hotel overnight, and then flown to California’s capital city. Once in the Golden State, they were they were taken to the front office of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento, by bus.

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As noted in the statement, the California attorney general is investigating potential criminal or civil action against those involved in arranging or facilitating the transportation of the immigrants, including possible kidnapping charges. DeSantis faced similar investigations in the aftermath of last year’s infamous migrant transport. 

AG Rob Bonta’s office also released a statement, on Saturday:

Today I met with over a dozen migrants who were brought to Sacramento by private plane, with no prior arrangement or care in place…We are investigating the circumstances by which these individuals were brought to California. We are also evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants. While this is still under investigation, we can confirm these individuals were in possession of documentation purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida. While we continue to collect evidence, I want to say this very clearly: State-sanctioned kidnapping is not a public policy choice, it is immoral and disgusting. We are a nation built by immigrants and we must condemn the cruelty and hateful rhetoric of those, whether they are state leaders or private parties, who refuse to recognize humanity and who turn their backs on extending dignity and care to fellow human beings. California and the Sacramento community will welcome these individuals with open arms and provide them with the respect, compassion, and care they will need after such a harrowing experience.


The non-profit organization Sacramento Area Congregations Together (ACT), comprising local religious congregations, is providing assistance to the illegal immigrants. According to ACT, the individuals were approached outside of a migrant center in El Paso by people claiming to be private contractors, offering help with employment and support.

Cecilia Flores, a spokesperson for ACT described the immigrants’ reactions, after arriving at the church, saying:

They started to ask, ‘What city is this? What state are we in?’ Many of them did not know Sacramento was in California. I believe they were just told, ‘We’ll take you to this refuge where they’ll be able to help you.’ I’m not sure if they even knew how far they would be traveling.

A representative for Berry Aviation, a charter service based in San Marcos, Texas, that operated the charter aircraft used to transport the immigrants described it as a “government flight”:

[It’s] something that the government ran.

According to ACT representatives, the group is composed of 16 individuals, both men and women, aged 20 to 30. 


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