Texas sheriff files criminal case over migrants flown from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard

The Bexar County Sheriff's Office has filed a criminal case with the DA's office in connection with what they say was the illegal transportation of 49 migrants from San Antonio to Martha's Vineyard last fall. 

The move was paid for by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration. 

RELATED: Texas sheriff investigating 2 flights of migrants sent to Martha's Vineyard by Florida Gov.

Katie Naranjo, chair of the Travis County Democratic Party, and Matt Mackowiak, chair of the Travis County GOP, joined FOX 7 Austin's Rebecca Thomas to discuss.

REBECCA THOMAS: So the charge that's being recommended is unlawful restraint. Investigators say Venezuelan migrants were lured under false pretenses onto that flight to Martha's Vineyard. Katie, should DeSantis' administration or officials with the administration be charged in this case? 

KATIE NARANJO: If you break the law, whether it be in Texas or Florida or anywhere else, whether you're a Democrat or Republican, you should be held accountable. And the reality is, is Ron DeSantis is just exercising, you know, political points here that he's trying to gain with his far right base, when in reality, America needs solutions, comprehensive immigration reform, not these tricks that are being played that actually result in human trafficking. And so, yes, anybody who is engaging in this should be held accountable.

REBECCA THOMAS: Matt, what are your thoughts? You know, if it's true that these migrants were lured under false pretenses should certainly be brought? 

MATT MACKOWIAK: Yeah, I certainly hope Katie is not saying Governor DeSantis was engaged in human trafficking. You know, the question here is going to be where they voluntarily got on the plane, and that's what his side has said. If that proves not to be true, that will change things. But my understanding is they signed waivers, and they agreed to go there. And then once they got there, they were convinced to sort of attack Governor DeSantis politically. So. But, look, human trafficking is not happening because Governor DeSantis decided to fly 50 people from Texas to Massachusetts instead of allowing them to come to Florida. Human trafficking along the border is happening because of the Democrats and the Biden administration allowing a wide open border ending remain in Mexico, reinstating catch and release, lifting Title 42 without anything to replace it. It's an absolute disaster. So I guess the question I have for Katie is do you think Texas should bear the entire burden of illegal immigration that's coming across the border, or do you think it should be spread across other states? 

REBECCA THOMAS: Katie, you want to go ahead and respond? 

KATIE NARANJO: I think it's great when Republicans want to shift responsibility. The Biden administration has numerous times put forward comprehensive immigration reform, which includes smart solutions for the border. It talks about training and additional support on the ground as well as, yes, a pathway to citizenship for folks like Dreamers. The reality is, is the Republicans are all about kicking down barns, but they're not great at building them. They cannot get a coalition to agree on what actual immigration reform looks like. And so they literally hold the U.S. Congress hostage by not passing any real solutions beyond the one thing that they can agree on, which is the border wall. So 15th century technology for a 21st century issue. And I think the real question is, if this is not human trafficking, it's luring people, promising them benefits once they get to another state is not human trafficking. What was the purpose of Governor DeSantis's plot here? What was he trying to do? Because it was not connecting immigrants who are seeking asylum to actual resources from the federal government?

REBECCA THOMAS: Well, it's interesting because we still haven't seen that investigation. And the DEA, again, has not filed any charges yet, but they are taking up the case. Matt, we're running out of time. Final thought? 

MATT MACKOWIAK: Well, that's something that's not true. I mean, they were taken directly to the migrant processing center in Martha's Vineyard. Obviously, it's very limited. I believe they were there and then sent to another location in Massachusetts. Fundamentally, Governor DeSantis wanted to do this because he wanted to spread the burden. And you heard Katie refuse to answer that question. Texas is bearing the brunt of this along the southern border. Our border communities are being overrun. That's happening because Biden basically created an open border on his first day in office. And we are still paying the consequences of that today.

KATIE NARANJO: Republicans are refusing, all right, Matt, to address this issue, they're refusing to address this issue.