Jose is one of the migrants tricked by this mysterious figure. He told The Washington Post that this Perla offered himself and other migrants “a 90-day stay in a ‘sanctuary’ city that welcomes migrants. She said they had steady jobs for 50 people in fields such as cleaning and carpentry,” the report said.
Jose had trekked on foot from Venezuela to the U.S., passing the the bodies of deceased migrants who had attempted the same journey. He was tired and believed Perla, telling her he wanted to meet family friends in Philadelphia. She said she would help, and he believed her. But as noted in a complaint to the Massachusetts attorney general and the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, migrants were being lied to. Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights said their clients had been told they were going to Boston, but only when they were in the air were they informed they were actually going to Martha’s Vineyard.
Judd Legum of Popular Information also wrote that migrants were given a brochure “crudely” made to look like a government document, which falsely claimed they were eligible for all sorts of benefits. While this is true for certain refugees, this isn’t the case here.
In Jose’s case, he and other migrants were first put up in a hotel by Perla, where she regularly brought food. They at one point signed forms they didn’t understand in exchange for $10 McDonald’s gift cards. Jose said he began to worry when they headed out several days later for their flight. While he’d never flown before, he noted there was no security. This is where the shady got even shadier when the San Antonio flight made a pit stop in Florida near the offices of Vertol Systems, the air charter company and GOP donor that has been paid more than $1.5 million to aid DeSantis’ stunt.
”The payments exceed the typical cost of a charter flight, experts said, but the governor’s office and the company have not responded to questions about how exactly the money was spent,” The Washington Post reported.
While this Perla had assured migrants, Jose and other migrants would end up unceremoniously dumped in front of a nonprofit organization in Martha’s Vineyard. Jose said the organization had clearly not been expecting them. Of course, while they hadn’t been expected, they were still welcomed, to the anger of conservatives. “He said don’t despair,” Jose said one man told them. “We didn’t expect you, but you’re here. We’re going to help you.”
This is then when Perla, she of the big promises and gentle reassurances, in effect disappears. Jose heard from her only one more time after getting a message to her through a Venezuelan man who’d apparently been helping her. Her message said only that people there “will take care of you. You have the numbers of the churches. Call the churches.” Of course, recall that faith-based organizations have been harassed by the right wing for aiding migrants in the first place.
This recruiter was also described in a Sept. 22 report from the Miami Herald as a woman with “straight, light-colored hair” in a black SUV, though adding to this confusion is that there could be multiple “Perlas.” Migrants have also described a recruiter with black hair. In the Herald’s report, a woman “with light hair and a blue shirt got out and nervously approached” migrants, who were immediately on edge after being warned about sketchy offers. Perla, or the Perlas, have since sped away anonymously after lying to migrants and aiding a craven politician seeking to bolster his political career. Once again: Who the fuck is Perla?
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