An investigation is underway after over a dozen migrants arrived in Sacramento, California, by private jet “with no prior arrangement or care in place,” Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Rob Bonta said Saturday.
California state officials on Saturday met with the group, who had documentation “purporting to be from the government of the State of Florida,” Bonta said.
The immigrants were taken from Texas to New Mexico, then flown by private chartered jet to California, where they were “dumped on the doorstep of a local church without any advance warning,” Newsom said in a statement.
The attorney general is investigating the incident and “evaluating potential criminal or civil action against those who transported or arranged for the transport of these vulnerable immigrants,” Bonta said in a statement.
The circumstances around who paid for the group’s travel and whether the migrants were misled with false promises will be investigated, according to the governor. Authorities did not say what countries the migrants had traveled from.
CNN has reached out to state officials from Texas and Florida for comment.
It isn’t the first time a plane carrying migrants has arrived unannounced in a Democratic state. Late last year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent two planes carrying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.
Many who head to the US make long and dangerous treks in hopes of finding a better, safer life for their families. People immigrate to flee violence, for economic opportunities or to reunite with family members, experts say.
“California and the Sacramento community will welcome these individuals with open arms ad provide them with the respect, compassion, and care they will need after such a harrowing experience,” Bonta said.
The state is working with the Sacramento mayor’s office and local groups to make sure that the migrants “are treated with respect and dignity and get to their intended destination as they pursue their immigration cases,” Newsom said.
Bonta said the state will “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.