(KTXL) — Two separate groups of migrants have been flown into Sacramento unexpectedly and dropped off in the past few days.
The two flights originated out of El Paso, Texas, but Florida officials orchestrated the relocation.
Here is what we know.
Where are the migrants from?
The first flight arrived on June 2 and landed at McClellan Airport in Sacramento County, carrying 16 passengers that arrived to the southern border from their home countries Venezuela and Colombia.
The second flight, which arrived the morning of June 5, landed at Sacramento Executive Airport, carrying 20 passengers, who come from Venezuela, Colombia, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Mexico, according to Attorney General Rob Bonta and Sacramento faith leaders.
The migrants reached the U.S.-Mexico border in the previous weeks and months, some of them traveling alone and others with their partners.
The 36 migrants are all adults in their 20s and 30s, local and state leaders said.
Where were the migrants before arriving in Sacramento?
According to Sacramento community leaders, the migrants were in El Paso, Texas in several different shelters and they were all approached at different times by people promising to transport them to a separate shelter with the promise of better accommodations and jobs.
Migrants that arrive at the southern border typically ask for asylum in the U.S. and are allowed to stay in the country as their immigration case advances through the courts.
How did the migrants get to Sacramento?
According to officials and information from FlightAware, the same chartered plane brought the migrants to Sacramento in the two flights, following a similar path.
The flights originated out of El Paso, Texas, with the plane traveling to Deming, New Mexico before continuing on to Sacramento.
The 16 migrants that arrived on June 2 were taken by bus from McClellan Airport to the Catholic Diocese offices in Sacramento.
According to local leaders, the bus was “not a service provided by the airport.” The driver of the bus dropped them off at the institution’s main building and left.
The 20 migrants that arrived on June 5 were met at the Sacramento Executive Airport by local and state leaders, including the state Dept. of Justice, before being taken to their temporary residences.
Where are the migrants staying in Sacramento?
Local and state leaders have not specified where exactly the migrants are staying, with Mayor Darrell Steinberg saying the locations will not be revealed in order to protect the migrants’ privacy, adding that they are all “well cared for and in good spirits.”
Cecilia Flores with Sacramento ACT said volunteers have been helping the migrants purchase additional clothing and supplies for their stay in Sacramento, as well as helping connect them to services, such as legal representation.
Sacramento ACT’s Executive Director Gabby Trejo said that several of the migrants had family or friends in the Bay Area and came to Sacramento to pick them up.
Who organized the flights?
California Attorney General Rob Bonta and Governor Gavin Newsom said they suspected the two flights were organized by Florida leaders.
Several days passed before a representative from the Florida Division of Emergency Management, which is part of the Florida governor’s office, confirmed the state’s involvement in the two flights to Sacramento.
In a statement, the representative said the relocation of the migrants was “voluntary.”
DeSantis has not directly commented on the flights to Sacramento.
In 2022, a Florida program captured national attention after it organized the transportation of dozens of migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts.
Newsom and Bonta met with the migrants that arrived on the first flight and said that their respective offices will investigate who coordinated their transportation.
The two officials said they will look into whether the organizers of the flights misled the migrants and if their actions constitute criminal laws, including kidnapping.