The migrant who was recruited by a Ron DeSantis campaign operative to find other migrants to serve as passengers on flights to Massachusetts says he feels betrayed by the Florida governor.
Speaking with CNN, the migrant told the network that he had been living on the streets of San Antonio for nearly a month when he met a woman named “Perla” who made a compelling offer: clothes, food, and money. In exchange, he would go out and recruit other migrants to participate in the political stunt, he told CNN.
“She gave him $10 McDonald’s gift cards to be given to those migrants who agreed to board the flights, and she told him to say that they and their kids would be treated well upon arrival,” the news outlet reported.
“She had told me that the people who were going to Massachusetts, before I sent them, she had told me that they were going to receive them. They were going to be given shelter, a place to stay. They were going to help them with the language, and those who had children, they were going to study,” he said.
In fact, nobody on Martha’s Vineyard even knew they were coming, local officials said, noted CNN.
The recruiter said he messaged Perla that the migrants were nervous because nobody was there to meet them and they were sleeping on the side of the road. He showed CNN what she texted him back: “Tell them to call the numbers we gave them. The church. The state has to take care of them.”
Later that night, he said she left him an audio message.
“I know they were scared at first but now they are in a much better place and they are going to be taken care of there like you have no idea. I know they arrived in another city but it is within Massachusetts. Believe me they are going to have a much better life than here or anywhere else,” she said.
The migrants wound up spending 44 hours on Martha’s Vineyard and slept at an Episcopal church before being taken to Joint Base Cape Cod on September 16.
The recruiter told CNN he, too, felt betrayed by Perla and decided to tell his side of the story, saying he was unaware of the deception.
“I never, ever knew that (it) was a governor or politician,” the recruiter said. “So my only will has always been to help people.”
He also told CNN that he is no longer in contact with Perla. However, she warned him not to talk to reporters.
“If a reporter calls you,” she texted, “don’t say anything.”