The fifty or so migrants, mostly Venezuelans, sent to the upscale island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts on Wednesday were welcomed on Friday (September 16) to Cape Cod, a military base not far from there, reports Politico.
They were voluntarily relocated to an emergency shelter at this joint base, which in the past served as a medical care center during the Covid-19 pandemic, and shelter for Louisiana residents after the passage of hurricane Katrina, in 2005, let know the services of the republican governor of Massachusetts, Charlie Baker. On site, migrants will have access to food and emergency services.
The unexpected arrival of migrants this week “surprised the island community” of Martha’s Vineyard, known as an upscale resort “prized by the wealthy and political elite, including former President Barack Obama”writing Politico.
Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis later confirmed that he was behind the movement of migrants. Mr DeSantis said the migrants boarded the flights voluntarily. According Politico, “the DeSantis administration paid an aviation company, Vertol Systems Company Inc, $615,000 to transport the migrants” from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard.
Biden denounces a “political coup”
“This initiative is part of a campaign led by Ron DeSantis and other Republican governors of Texas and Arizona to send migrants to cities with high Democratic concentrations such as Washington, New York and Chicago, in order to to publicize the explosion in the number of migrant crossings at the border between Mexico and the United States”explains the washington post.
Every day, note the wall street journal, Thousands of migrants cross the US southern border illegally, with a record two million crossings expected this year.
US President Joe Biden has condemned Governor Ron DeSantis’ move, calling it a “political stunt”. “Republicans play politics with human beings, they use them as pawns. What they are doing is just plain bad”he said Thursday.
Migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard said on Friday they were deceived about where they were being taken, “which prompted immigration lawyers to promise legal action”indicates the New York Times.
According to Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston, they were told: “You have a [rendez-vous auprès des services d’immigration] in San Antonio, but don’t worry, we’ll take you to Boston”. Dozens of migrants said they were only told mid-flight that they were going to land at Martha’s Vineyard rather than Boston. “They were also told there would be job opportunities and immigration assistance available to them if they boarded the plane.details Iván Espinoza-Madrigal. This is not only state interference in federal immigration matters, it is also a violation of the civil rights of our clients.”
“This dramacomment on New York Times, exposed decades-old flaws in a clogged immigration system. […] And he demonstrated once again how easily the fate of immigrants can be won in a toxic political battle, especially at election time.” “Florida Governor’s anti-immigrant publicity stunt was unnecessarily cruel”considers for his part RollingStone. Above all, writes the magazine, “it could also have been illegal, especially if the reports that the migrants were duped are true.”