The group of migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard this week are being relocated to a military base that is best equipped to temporarily house them, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced Friday.
Around 50 men, women and kids voluntarily boarded buses Friday morning that took them to a ferry to the mainland, where they were transported to Joint Base Cape Cod. Dormitory-style accommodations awaited them there, together with basic necessities, food, health care access and crisis counseling services of their native language.
As much as 125 Massachusetts National Guard members shall be activated to help the group, Baker said.
His Florida counterpart, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), claimed credit for the political stunt, which was aimed toward highlighting the surge in migration along the southern U.S. border. Nevertheless, the migrants arrived within the U.S. through Texas, not Florida, raising questions concerning the legality of the situation.
While the move appeared to please DeSantis’ supporters, it was met with searing criticism from elected Democrats and swaths of the general public. Critics said the flights amounted to human trafficking, and saw cruelty in using desperate people to make a political point. It appeared that DeSantis was attempting to lift his national profile prematurely of a possible presidential campaign; one official said DeSantis hired a videographer to capture footage of the journey.
The migrants had been told Wednesday that they’d be going to Boston, in line with NPR, which spoke to several people within the group. They told the outlet a lady named “Perla” told them they’d be given expedited work papers, a baldfaced lie.
As an alternative, they wound up on Martha’s Vineyard, an island community used as a summer retreat for wealthy East Coasters. After they landed in two privately chartered planes on the island, they’d only a brochure for a area people center, the Cape Cod Times reported.
“We got on the plane with a vision of the long run, of creating it,” 30-year-old Andres Duarte told NPR. “Look, when you’ve no money and someone offers help, well, it means loads.”
DeSantis had not told any local officials to expect the migrants. The group walked about two miles from the runway to the community center.
Residents of the island swiftly stepped in to assist, organising beds in a church and whipping up meals. Teenage AP Spanish students were brought in to assist translate for the migrants, most of whom were originally from Venezuela and said their flights had taken off from San Antonio, Texas. The Cape Cod Times said that one woman brought her yellow lab, Gracie, to comfort the migrants.
“We’re grateful to the providers, volunteers and native officials that stepped up on Martha’s Vineyard over the past few days to supply immediate services to those individuals,” Baker said in a statement Friday. “Our Administration has been working across state government to develop a plan to make sure these individuals could have access to the services they need going forward, and Joint Base Cape Cod is well equipped to serve these needs.”
Upon leaving Martha’s Vineyard, the migrants got supplies and latest cell phones, The Washington Post reported from the scene.
“Families is not going to be separated,” the governor’s office said in a pointed reference to an immigration policy on the southern border under former President Donald Trump that split children from their parents.
Lately, Republican elected officials have turned to inhumane measures with the intention to discourage migrants from looking for refuge on the U.S. border. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, each Republicans, have taken to busing migrants from their states to northern so-called “sanctuaries” to create logistical headaches for Democratic officials and voters. Buses have arrived in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Recent York City.