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‘Perla’ Behind Another Flight and Stranded Migrants

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September 22, 2022 8:57 a.m.
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There was a scramble at Delaware Coastal Airport near Georgetown, Delware Tuesday as state authorities and immigrant support organizations rushed to be ready to receive a plane filled with migrants from Texas. The DeSantis administration leaked word to reporters in Florida about the flight. There was no official word from anyone in Delaware but rumors abounded that such a flight was on its way from Texas and would arrive by 1:30 p.m. But the plane never showed. Courtesy of TPM Reader DC we have a report on the commotion here. Later, DeSantis spokesperson Christine Pushaw tweeted that the whole flight rumor was “disinformation.” But it wasn’t. Venezuelan migrants in San Antonio had been recruited. A charter flight had been booked.

Now from the Miami Herald, in a richly reported piece, we get the other side of the story in San Antonio. There was a planned flight. It was all real and organized by the same operatives as the Martha’s Vineyard stunt. There was another group of Venezuelan migrants at another La Quinta motel waiting for the flight. They had been recruited by the same as yet unidentified dark-haired woman who had helped recruit the 50-odd migrants shipped to Martha’s Vineyard last week. Their hotel rooms while waiting for the flight that never happened were booked by “Perla,” according to Bexar County Sheriff’s investigators who spoke to the Herald. (“Perla” is apparently a tall blonde.) The two said they were working for an “organization” they couldn’t disclose and told the migrants their transport and the benefits that awaited them were contingent on keeping all their actions and the whole plan secret.

Once the Delaware flight was called off, a bus dumped the migrants back at the San Antonio migrant resource center they’d been recruited from days earlier. Some who missed the bus were stranded at the La Quinta Inn ten miles away with no transportation to get back.

The Herald story implies that the flight was called off as a way to punk reporters and the locals waiting for the flight in Delaware. And that is very possible. The Herald article is really a great piece of reporting. But it seems to me there’s another explanation. This happened Tuesday, by which time a host of legal entanglements — as well as more aggressive reporting — were already emerging about the Martha’s Vineyard flights. Perhaps that’s why it was called off? This is just a hunch. The Herald reporters are there on the ground in San Antonio. But that seems to me like a more likely explanation.

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