“It just adds to a sense of cruelty. How are you going to move folks to a place that is further away from where they needed to be?”

From Crux: 

When a van dropped off 16 migrants at the Diocese of Sacramento’s pastoral center on Friday, June 2, staff responded as the church routinely does in emergency situations – help first, ask questions later. The migrants were brought to a parish, and eventually given a hotel room.

Days later, however, as the diocese works with the migrants and partner organizations on next steps, a number of questions remain unanswered, including: Why Sacramento? Why the diocesan offices? And will something similar happen again as it has in cities nationwide?

No matter the answers, Miriam Sammartino, the diocese’s director of Catholic Charities and Social Concerns, said the act was heartbreaking, especially considering it appears that Sacramento wasn’t the migrants’ final destination, nor was it on the way to where they intended to go after they were processed into the United States. A few of them needed to get to San Diego and Chicago, she said.

“I don’t believe the migrants themselves even understood that they were being brought to Sacramento, so that’s a priority for us,” Sammartino told Crux.

“It just adds to a sense of cruelty. How are you going to move folks to a place that is potentially further away from where they needed to be?” she continued. “When you hear that the migrants in their mind are going to be processed and given the information, looking for help and for hope, and instead they’re given a location where they have no one to rely on … It’s completely heartbreaking.”

California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced June 3 that the state was investigating the circumstances of the migrants’ arrival. According to Bonta, the migrants were flown to Sacramento via a private plane, and were carrying with documentation purporting to be from the State of Florida.

Late Tuesday, there was this development: 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration confirmed it’s behind the recent flights sending migrants from Texas to California — and insisted that the trips were all voluntary and the immigrants were treated well.

“Through verbal and written consent, these volunteers indicated they wanted to go to California,” Amelia Johnson, the deputy director of communications and external affairs at the Florida Division of Emergency Management, told Insider.

Until now, Florida authorities have been mum about the flights, the first of which landed in Sacramento, California, on Friday and the second of which landed at the airport in on Monday. Migrants who were on the first flight were driven to a Catholic church.

Johnson said a contractor “ensured they made it safely” to Catholic Charities, a nongovernmental agency. A communications exec for Catholic Charities USA said the organization “does not provide direct services.”

The Florida Division of Emergency Management shared a 2-minute-20-second-long video with Insider of migrants the agency said boarded the flights.

Video and photos showed the apparent migrants filling out paperwork, riding what seemed to be a party bus, boarding a charter plane, giving thumbs up, celebrating, and saying they were “treated super well” and thanking someone off-screen.

It’s unclear when the videos and photos were taken, and which of the two flights was represented.

A migrant had told The New York Times that men and women approached him at an El Paso, Texsas, shelter and asked if he wanted to go to California. He added that the group told him no one was obligated to go.

“I don’t know what is their motivation to organize these trips,” the immigrant told the Times. “I don’t know if it’s political or part of the government. They didn’t tell us anything.”