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California governor urges investigation into possible kidnapping charges for Gov. DeSantis migrant flights

"I have been horrified at the images of migrants being shipped on buses and planes across the country to be used as political props," Gov. Newsom wrote, in part.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom published a letter to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation into whether Republican governors', including Ron DeSantis, decisions to move migrants across the country would support kidnapping charges.

DeSantis on Thursday defended his decision to fly planes carrying migrants earlier this week to Martha's Vineyard saying he's trying to shield the state from what he called President Joe Biden's failed border policies.

Florida paid for two flights as part of a $12 million state "relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations." The governor's office has not yet detailed where migrants boarded planes and how they were encouraged to make the trip, according to The Associated Press.

Elizabeth Folcarelli, chief executive of the nonprofit Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, said to the outlet: "They were told that they would have a job and they would have housing."

Newsom, who has frequently clashed with DeSantis over the economy, COVID and immigration issues, said what's happening "isn't clever, it's cruel."

"I’m formally requesting the DOJ begin an immediate investigation into these inhumane efforts to use kids as political pawns," Newsom wrote on Twitter.

DeSantis' decision, like that of Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott busing migrants to Washington, D.C., and other cities, further intensifies a tactic to criticize the Biden administration over immigration.

Newsom's letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland called on the DOJ "to open an investigation into possible or civil violations of federal law based on this alleged fraudulent scheme. 

"In particular, I urge US DOJ to investigate whether the alleged fraudulent inducement would support charges of kidnapping under relevant state laws, which could serve as a predicate offense for charges under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) provisions of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970."

Axios reported Friday that "litigation options" may be considered among Cabinet heads and White House officials during a meeting with several government agencies, including the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense.

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