Martha’s Vineyard Immigrants Add Plane Company, Its CEO, and  High-Level Florida Officials As Defendants In Federal Class Action Lawsuit 

November 29, 2022
Elyssa Pachico  | +1 503 347 23 29 | [email protected] 
Myneilles Negron | +1 703 585 6727 | [email protected]



Amended Complaint Details Orchestrated Plan To Deceive Immigrants 


Boston, November 28, 2022 – Attorneys from Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) filed an amended complaint in the federal class action challenging the scheme perpetrated by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and others to fly immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard under false pretenses. Since the filing of the original complaint, LCR has been joined by the Boston-based firm Foley Hoag LLP, which is providing representation pro bono in this litigation.


In addition to adding new factual allegations and claims under federal and state law, the amended complaint adds as Defendants the plane company that flew the migrants (Vertol Systems Company, Inc.) its CEO, Florida’s “Public Safety Czar,” Governor DeSantis’s Chief of Staff, and Perla Huerta, the former spy who spearheaded the deceptive recruitment of immigrants.


Drawing on a trove of public records released since LCR brought the case in September, the filing paints a detailed picture of a coordinated scheme at the highest levels of the Florida government. The 86-page amended complaint outlines how DeSantis and his co-conspirators hatched and executed a plan to induce vulnerable Latinx immigrants in Texas to board privately chartered flights through false promises of jobs, shelter, and immigration assistance.


Text messages and other documents show, for example, that Lawrence Keefe, Florida’s “Public Safety Czar,” and James Uthmeier, Governor DeSantis’s Chief of Staff, were intimately involved in the plot from inception through to execution.


The amended complaint also outlines a web of involvement from Vertol Systems Company, Inc., the politically-connected plane company that chartered the Martha’s Vineyard flights, and the infamous “Perla,” now identified as Perla Huerta. To date, Vertol has received over $1.5 million from the State of Florida for the scheme.


“All actors – public or private – involved in this effort to exploit our clients for political or monetary gain will be held accountable,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, LCR’s Executive Director.  “Let this be a warning to anyone thinking about becoming involved in a deceptive scheme like this in the future: do so at your peril.”  


“This was an abhorrent abuse of power, and we will work to ensure that nothing like it happens again,” said Oscar Chacon, Executive Director of Alianza Americas. “Using human beings as political props is both morally repugnant and illegal.”


The case is Alianza Americas et al. v. DeSantis et al., Case No. 22-CV-11550 (D. Mass.). It is pending before U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs in Boston, MA. 



Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America. In 2022, Alianza integrated with, establishing a stronger digital organizing powerhouse.

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