‘Humanitarian Crisis’: Martha’s Vineyard Scrambles To Support 50 Illegal Migrants Sent By DeSantis

  • Local officials in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts are scrambling to handle 50 illegal migrants who were sent by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
  • Local and state officials say the illegal migrants don’t want to stay on the island, so shelter options elsewhere are being assessed.
  • “Our message is we’re not a sanctuary state, we don’t have benefits or any of that,” DeSantis said Thursday. “There are some sanctuary jurisdictions and that would be better. Now, what would be the best is for Biden to do his damn job and secure the border.”

Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, is scrambling to support a “humanitarian crisis” of 50 illegal migrants sent to the island by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Local officials are soliciting outside help and preparing to open more shelter space as they prepare for more flights to arrive.

The island has opened two local shelters thus far, according to a statement from the Dukes County Emergency Management Association. Meanwhile, some local officials are seeking non-local shelter options. The State of Massachusetts is also working to set up a “temporary shelter” at Joint Base Cape Cod, Democrat Gov. Charlie Baker, announced Thursday.

The migrants want to leave the island as soon as they can, Lisa Belcastro, the director of the Winter Homes homeless shelter on the island, told The Boston Globe.

“None of them wanted to come to Martha’s Vineyard. They’ve never heard of Martha’s Vineyard. This was a political move,” Belcastro said, according to The Boston Globe. “Not one person has asked for a handout; they have asked to work.”

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“When you look at the limited housing options on Martha’s Vineyard, as I’m sure many of the folks here are aware, it’s likely we’re going to need an off island location, but all that is being explored,”  state Rep. Dylan Fernandes told The Boston Globe.

DeSantis sent two planeloads of illegal migrants to the popular destination for wealthy elites on Wednesday.

“Our message is we’re not a sanctuary state, we don’t have benefits or any of that. There are some sanctuary jurisdictions and that would be better. Now, what would be the best is for Biden to do his damn job and secure the border,” DeSantis said at a “Florida for Truckers” event Thursday.

The illegal migrants said, however, that they were flown from Texas and were told they would be landing in Boston, according to The Boston Globe.

DeSantis’ move follows efforts by Republican Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas and Doug Ducey of Arizona to bus illegal migrants from the border to Democratic cities.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities encountered more than 1.9 million migrants at the southern border between Oct. 2021 and July 2022, according to agency statistics.

Abbott sent two busloads Thursday of over 100 illegal migrants from Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

The Mayors of the Democratic cities receiving illegal migrants bused from the border, Eric Adams of New York City, Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Muriel Bowser of Washington, have all criticized the Republican governors for being political and for overwhelming their local resources.

Adams said on Wednesday that the city was “nearing its breaking point” over Abbott’s busing effort.

Martha’s Vineyard is expecting a similar situation and is asking federal and state governments for long-term support, according to the association.

“We will continue to work very closely with our state partners, who have pledged support and resources for any unmet needs that we may have. As we do with any shelter operation, we are focused on meeting the immediate needs of people we are sheltering, and engaged in contingency planning if the situation changes. We are grateful to the many local and neighboring community members who have reached out with offers of support,” the association said.

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