CNN

Lawyers for many of the approximately 50 migrants who unexpectedly landed at Martha’s Vineyard said on Monday that the brochures given to their clients were “very misleading” and “used to entice (their) clients to travel on the pretext that assistance (with resettlement) was available to them.”

The brochure lists services for refugees, including cash and housing assistance, clothing, transport for job interviews, job training and help with enrolling children in school, among other resources.

A Venezuelan migrant, who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity for fear of negative impacts on his immigration case, shared images from the brochure. They said the migrants were told the pamphlet contained information about the assistance they would receive in Massachusetts, but they were not told about the differences between programs for refugees and asylum seekers. asylum.

Migrants are, in many cases, asylum seekers and not refugees. Refugees seek protection overseas and are admitted through the Refugee Admissions Program, while asylum seekers apply in the United States.

The asylum seekers, who local officials say are from Venezuela, arrived at Martha’s Vineyard from Texas on Wednesday under arrangements made by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. DeSantis, who is running for re-election this year, said he wanted to draw attention to the border crisis. Texas Governor Greg Abbott – another Republican with a re-election bid – flew thousands of migrants to New York and Washington, DC, throughout the summer to also highlight his criticism of immigration policies of the Biden administration.

DeSantis’ decision has been strongly denounced by the White House, Democratic officials and immigration lawyers who say the migrants were misled about their final destination.

At a Friday press conference, DeSantis said everyone had signed waivers and knew where they were going. “Obviously that’s where they were going,” he said, adding, “It’s all voluntary.”

The pamphlet, which has now been posted online by the legal group representing numerous cases, features a photo of what appears to be a road sign that reads “Massachusetts Welcomes You” and a photo of a nondescript lighthouse. It also provides a brief summary of what resettlement agencies can do for refugees, in English and Spanish.

The pamphlet also lists the telephone number for the Massachusetts Office of Refugees and Immigrants, which told CNN it was not a document released by their office.

The front includes a picture of the state of Massachusetts and a list of community service agencies located on Martha’s Vineyard and at least one on Cape Cod.

The list includes the number of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services – which eventually took in the migrants and helped them find their first home at a church on the island.

Oren Sellstrom, litigation director for Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston, which represents many migrants, said his clients left Texas expecting everything to be promoted in the pamphlet waiting for them once they had landed.

Lawyers are investigating the origin of the leaflets, when they were given to the migrants and why, according to the group.

DeSantis again defended sending the migrants to Massachusetts during an interview with Fox News on Monday night and said, “The salesman doing this for Florida provided them with a package that had a map of Martha’s Vineyard in it. He had the numbers from different departments on Martha’s Vineyard, and then there were the numbers from all of the Massachusetts agencies that deal with immigration and refugees.

It was unclear if he was referring to the brochure in question.

Two of the migrants previously told CNN that while in San Antonio, they decided to make the trip after two women and a man approached them on the streets near a migrant resource center.

One of the migrants, Wilmer Villazana, said he was put up in a hotel for five days before the flights and was well taken care of. The women told him they were from Orlando and worked for private organizations that raise money to help migrants, Villazana said.

“The type of program discussed here is generally not available to just any immigrant,” Sellstrom explained. “It’s very misleading in the sense that it was used to induce our customers to travel on the pretext that this support was available when in fact the type of program has very specific eligibility.”

Most migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard have been processed by federal authorities and will go through an immigration process where an immigration judge will ultimately decide if they can stay in the United States. Given their status as asylum seekers and not refugees, they are probably not eligible for the benefits listed on the brochure.

Refugees are entitled to benefits available to them from the federal government, including cash assistance and medical assistance. Generally, asylum seekers are not eligible for federally funded benefits, although once granted asylum, they may receive some assistance.

The migrants continue to receive humanitarian services at Joint Base Cape Cod after Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office voluntarily transported them there, activating more than 100 National Guardsmen in the total effort.

Massachusetts U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins told reporters Thursday that she would speak with members of the Justice Department about Governor DeSantis sending the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.