Local authorities reported that about 50 migrants unexpectedly arrived by plane on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, escalating a Republican-led state strategy that has seen migrants transported in busloads to liberal strongholds like New York and Washington to protest the sharp increase in illegal immigration under President Biden.
According to State Senator Julian Cyr, a Massachusetts Democrat representing Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket, the migrant group, which included children, came on two flights at 3 p.m. without prior notice. To essentially set up the response that we would do in the event of a hurricane, officials and volunteers from the island’s six communities “truly moved heaven and earth,” the official added.
There was a misunderstanding on the ground about who transported the refugees to Martha’s Vineyard, a well-known retreat for the wealthy and powerful, as they received Covid-19 testing, food, and clothing. Although migrants claimed to have begun the day in San Antonio, Florida’s governor’s office claimed responsibility.
The two flights, according to Taryn M. Fenske, the communications director for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, were a part of a governmental initiative to transport undocumented immigrants to locations deemed to be “sanctuary cities.” The $12 million was budgeted by the Florida Legislature for the transportation program this year.
States that encourage illegal immigration through their classification as “sanctuary states” and support for the Biden administration’s open border policies, according to Ms. Fenske, would better facilitate the care of these people who they have invited into our nation.
One of the migrants, who requested anonymity and went by Leonel, remarked in Spanish that he had “never seen anything like” the generosity of the residents of Martha’s Vineyard. He received a set of shoes from them. Leonel, who has no family or friends in the US, claimed that he hadn’t slept well in three months. Three months have passed since I last wore new pants. Or footwear.
Leonel, 45, claimed to have fled Venezuela around three months prior, traveling through Central America and Mexico on his way north before navigating the treacherous Darién Gap between Colombia and Panama. His initial effort to enter the United States was unsuccessful. At Piedras Negras, Mexico, he crossed the Rio Grande on his second attempt.
Before being freed in San Antonio, where he and other migrants were eventually told they could travel to Massachusetts, Leonel spent many days in immigration custody. They concurred. In a statement, Terry MacCormack, the press secretary for Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, claimed that his office was in contact with local island authorities, offering the migrants “short-term shelter assistance.”
According to state representative Dylan Fernandes, most migrants appear to be from Venezuela. Before being escorted across the street to the local high school and finally to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, an ex-whaling town that is the most well-kept on the island, they got minimal relief services at Martha’s Vineyard Community Services in Oak Bluffs.
Even major American communities have had difficulty adjusting to the influx of migrants who arrive “with little to no notice,” as Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker phrased it in a disaster proclamation on Wednesday. He referred to the 500 migrants transported by bus from Texas to Chicago who needed urgent refuge and medical attention. Mr. Pritzker said in a statement, “here in Illinois, and we are treating them as humans while other states may be treating these vulnerable families as pawns.”
The difficulty encountered by Martha’s Vineyard, which has around 20,000 residents year-round, maybe even more severe. The St. Andrew’s congregation chose to host the migrants for the night after realizing they had nowhere else to go, according to the Rev. Chip Seattle. Knowing that the church provides winter shelter for homeless people, a member reached out to him.
According to Barbara Rush, the warden at St. Andrew’s, the only homeless shelter on the island, has space for ten people and just one restroom. It is not open during the summer. According to the size of the neighborhood, fifty persons without homes is an excessive number, she remarked. But this is a resilient and influential community.
President Barack Obama and John Kerry both own houses on Martha’s Vineyard, but despite its reputation as a summer retreat for the wealthy and powerful, the island suffers from a housing scarcity due to its high median home price of roughly $1 million. The timing of the migrants’ arrival coincides with the conclusion of the summer season and the end of seasonal employment.
On Martha’s Vineyard, Ms. Rush claimed, “There is virtually no employment in the winter.” She also noted the lack of any cheap housing. “Most persons who commute and have lower- to middle-income jobs live beyond the island.”
She said that local churches, community organizations, and eateries contributed. Sergio Racing, a property manager who went to the chapel to assist with translation, was one of the volunteers. He added, “They are glad to see all the support from the island. Some of them were tortured by the Mexican cartel. Some very, very awful things happened to them.
Republican presidential candidate Mr. DeSantis has frequently criticized the federal government for sending migrants to Florida and promised to transfer them to liberal enclaves in their place. He has regularly brought up Delaware, where Mr. Biden was born, as a potential location.
When she suggested in a Spanish-language radio interview that migrants from Cuba who crossed the border illegally from Mexico should be bused out of state, Mr. DeSantis’ lieutenant governor, Jeanette M. Nez, a Cuban American, came under political fire from Democrats in Miami, her hometown, last month.
According to the governor of Florida, a similar scheme in Texas has “taken a lot of burden off us,” therefore the state has not yet transferred migrants. The governor’s office in Texas said on Wednesday that it had not been engaged in the transportation to Martha’s Vineyard, even though Texas has sent at least 6,200 migrants to the country’s capital this year. Senator Cyr of Massachusetts attacked the purpose of the flights. He continued, “Our community has been targeted. This nasty hoax manipulates people looking for a better life.”