Plane carrying migrants lands in California

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Plane carrying migrants lands in California

A second plane carrying migrants has arrived in California’s capital city, just days after a first group of 16 migrants landed there on a charter plane that took off from New Mexico.

On Monday, a group of around 20 people landed in Sacramento, officials say.

Documents in their possession suggested the migrants were transported by a contractor for a Florida government programme.

California officials are investigating whether any laws were broken.

The first group of migrants, from Colombia and Venezuela, were dropped off outside a Sacramento church on Friday.

California state leaders have said the migrants may have been misled with “false promises” and even kidnapped.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has not commented on either flight, nor have other officials from the state.

Gavin Newsom, California’s governor, went on Twitter on Monday afternoon and called Mr DeSantis a “small, pathetic man”, including a screenshot of a California legal code section on kidnapping.

“This isn’t Martha’s Vineyard,” his tweet read, “Kidnapping charges?”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s office said the first group had been transported from Texas to New Mexico, flown in a private chartered jet to Sacramento and driven to the Roman Catholic Diocese, a local church.

Paperwork they shared with authorities indicated they were participating in the migrant transportation system administered by Florida’s Division of Emergency Management and run by Florida-based contractor Vertol Systems Company Inc.

The second group was carrying similar documents and flew to California from the same airport in New Mexico as the first group.

Sacramento County spokeswoman Kim Nava told US media the second group contained men and women between the ages of 18 and 40.

She said government officials made contact with them and gave them food and water before transporting them to a religious institution that she declined to identify.

Since last year, Florida and at least two other Republican-controlled states have sent busloads of migrants, often with no advance warning, to Democratic-run cities in protest against President Joe Biden’s border policies. It comes amid an influx of migrants at the southern US border.

Vertol, which has ties to Florida’s Mr DeSantis, was paid more than $1.6m (£1.3m) last year for at least two migrant flights, including to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.

Mr DeSantis is contesting for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024. He will be holding a fundraiser in Sacramento for his campaign later this month.

PICO California and Sacramento ACT, two faith-based volunteer groups that are helping the South Americans, told US media the first group was approached outside a migrant centre in the Texas border city of El Paso by people who offered them jobs and other support.

They were dropped off at the church’s doorstep not knowing where they were and with only a backpack’s worth of personal belongings each, the groups said.