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Who is Javier Salazar, the Bexar County sheriff investigating Texas migrant flight to Martha’s Vineyard?

Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP
A woman, who is part of a group of immigrants that had just arrived, holds a child as they are fed outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Wednesday Sept. 14, 2022, in Edgartown, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday flew two planes of immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard, escalating a tactic by Republican governors to draw attention to what they consider to be the Biden administration’s failed border policies. (Ray Ewing/Vineyard Gazette via AP)

A sheriff from Bexar County, Texas, has opened an investigation after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) last week backed sending 48 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., to call national attention to federal immigration policy. 

Javier Salazar, who serves as sheriff for the southern Texas county that includes San Antonio, said at a press conference on Monday that the group of Venezuelan migrants were “lured” under false pretenses into getting on the flight that took them to Martha’s Vineyard. 

Salazar said investigators believe a Venezuelan migrant was paid to recruit about 50 migrants from around a migrant resource center to get on the flight that took them first to Florida and then to Martha’s Vineyard. 

Salazar has served as the sheriff of Bexar County since January 2017, according to the sheriff’s website. He worked as an officer of the San Antonio Police Department for 23 years before he was elected sheriff. 

He joined the department at 21, first working as a patrolman. He was one of the first members of a community policing unit called the San Antonio Fear Free Environment. Officers in the program work directly with members of the community daily to prevent crimes before they happen, according to the city’s website

Salazar was eventually promoted to the narcotics unit, the executive protection detail and the office of the chief of police. He served as an internal affairs investigator and became the department’s communications director in 2012. 

His last position was serving as the director of the department’s integrity unit. 

Salazar created the adult detention mental health, public integrity and special victims units as well as an active shooter training program. 

DeSantis and fellow Republican Govs. Greg Abbott (Texas) and Doug Ducey (Ariz.), have sent thousands of migrants to Democratic-run northern cities with more lax immigration policies in recent months to draw attention to what they view as a lack of border security. 

Salazar said at his press conference that the migrants were promised work and solutions to “several” of their problems. 

“They were taken to Martha’s Vineyard for, from what we can gather, for little more than a photo op, video op, and then they were unceremoniously stranded in Martha’s Vineyard,” he said. 

Salazar was reelected in 2020, and his current term will be up at the end of 2024. 

“What infuriates me the most about this case is that here we have 48 people that are already on hard times, they are here legally in our country at that point, they have every right to be where they are, and I believe that they were preyed upon.”

Tags Bexar County Javier Salazar Ron DeSantis Ron DeSantis sheriff Texas migrant flight
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