Woman who allegedly helped organize migrant flights to Martha’s Vineyard identified by CNN as Perla Huerta

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CNN

“Perla,” the woman who allegedly helped organize migrant flights from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, has been identified by CNN as Perla Huerta.

In mid-September, about 50 migrants were flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in two planes organized by Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as part of his criticism of the federal government’s immigration and border security policies. . Most asylum seekers are known to be from Venezuela.

A migrant who lived on the streets of San Antonio, Texas, told CNN that a woman named ‘Perla’ offered him clothes, food and money in exchange for finding other people who would take a flight to Massachusetts.

The New York Times reported that other migrants identified Huerta from photos taken of her in San Antonio, according to Rachel Self, an attorney who represents the migrants.

A friend of Huerta’s also confirmed to CNN that the woman seen in a photo provided to CNN by a migrant is Huerta.

CNN has contacted Huerta but has yet to receive a response.

A migrant previously told CNN he had been living on the streets of San Antonio for nearly a month when he met a woman named “Perla” who offered him clothes, food and money. In exchange, he told CNN, he would go out and find other migrants to serve as passengers on flights to Massachusetts.

She gave him $10 McDonald’s gift cards to give to migrants who agreed to board flights, and she told him to say they and their children would be treated well when they arrived.

“She told me that the people who were going to Massachusetts, before I sent them, she told me that they were going to receive them. We were going to give them 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.

The recruiter spoke to CNN during his first TV interview and was granted anonymity to protect his safety. He provided CNN with Perla’s business card, text messages and audio messages to authenticate his story and provide an inside account of how the September 14 migrant flights unfolded.

Lawyers for the migrants have filed a class action lawsuit, claiming they were misled into agreeing to the flights and told they would arrive to find housing, jobs and help in the process. ‘immigration. In fact, no one on Martha’s Vineyard even knew they were coming, local officials said. The sheriff in Bexar County, Texas, which includes San Antonio, said his agency would investigate the thefts to see if any laws were broken.

For his part, the recruiter told CNN he felt betrayed by Perla and decided to tell his side of the story, saying he was unaware of the deception.

“I never, ever knew (he was) a governor or a politician,” the recruiter said. “So my only will has always been to help people.”

The recruiter told CNN he agreed to work with Perla to recruit the asylum seekers once he realized they were receiving food and shelter at a hotel in San Antonio where they would stay a few days before boarding the flights.

“My only intention was to help people so they could get some stability,” he said. “She took them to a hotel. At the hotel, I realized that they were treated well”, including receiving meals, linen and clothing.

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