A federal judge says migrants can sue the company that flew them to Martha’s Vineyard

In her order, U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs says the case can proceed against the air transport company, Vertol. Judge Burroughs dismissed claims against Gov. DeSantis and other members of his administration out of jurisdictional concerns, but did so “without prejudice.” That means the legal team representing the migrants can seek to bring DeSantis and others back into the case as it goes forward.

In the 77-page filing, Judge Burroughs had harsh words for those involved in the scheme. “Vertol and the other Defendants here were not legitimately enforcing any immigration laws,” she wrote, adding, “the Court sees no legitimate purpose for rounding up highly vulnerable individuals on false pretenses and publicly injecting them into a divisive national debate.”

Lawyers for Civil Rights, which represents the migrants, called the ruling “a major victory in the Martha’s Vineyard case, and it sends a crucial message: private companies can — and will — be held accountable for helping rogue state actors violate the rights of vulnerable immigrants through illegal and fraudulent schemes.”

But Brian Kelly, a lawyer representing Vertol said, “We are pleased that most of the case has now been dismissed and believe the Lawyers for Civil Rights are once again mistaken in their analysis of the situation.”

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