Martha’s Vineyard: Why Dozens of Migrants Have Been Airlifted to a Wealthy Vacation Island in the US | SBS News

The governor of Massachusetts said, Friday, that fifty or so immigrants who have been sent to the wealthy island of Martha’s Vineyard in the northeastern United States as part of a political battle over immigration will be housed temporarily at a military base not far from there.
The migrants, mostly Venezuelans including children, arrived on Wednesday in Martha’s Vineyard, the Democratic stronghold and a popular holiday spot for the country’s political elite.

They were put on flights from Texas that the Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, said he had chartered.

Despite local mobilization to help the new arrivals, the island “is not equipped to provide sustainable housing, and state officials have put in place a plan to provide a comprehensive humanitarian response,” said a statement from the administration of Republican Governor Charlie Baker.
State authorities on Friday offered to move the migrants, on a voluntary basis, to temporary accommodations at the nearby Cape Cod Joint Base.

“Families will not be separated,” the statement said, noting that the base was previously used as an emergency shelter and that immigrants would have access to legal care and services.

Volunteers helped bring food to immigrants who had recently arrived on Martha’s Vineyard. source: GT / Boston Globe

According to local media, the migrants were on their way to the base by midday Friday.

Some of them said they did not know they would be sent to an island.

‘Trafficking in Human Beings’

Local Democratic politician Julian Syr called for an investigation.
“Whether this meets the legal limit of human trafficking or not, this meets the moral limit of human trafficking,” he told local television, adding that he hoped the Justice Department would look into the incident.
Sending immigrants to Democratic strongholds has become a political cudgel to the American right as a way to denounce which they say has allowed illegal immigrants to cross the border with Mexico in large numbers.

It’s also a way of trying to put immigration at the center of the midterm campaign in November.
Thursday morning, two buses carrying immigrants arrived near the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, a location purposely chosen because she oversees the explosive immigration case for the White House. They were dispatched by Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott.

The White House on Friday again criticized the Republican rulers’ tactics towards people who have fled the socialist regime in Venezuela.

A man puts his arm around another man while a third looks at him

Jeff Whipple, a resident of Martha’s Vineyard (center) was among those who welcomed immigrants to the island. source: GT / Washington Post

“These were children. They were mothers. They were fleeing communism. And what did Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott do to them? They are using them as political pawns, treating them like baggage in a cruel and deliberate political ploy,” a White House spokeswoman said. Karen Jean-Pierre.

“These are the kinds of tactics we see from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala. Why? Take a photo?”
But DeSantis responded by mocking the fact that the immigrants had been removed from the wealthy island.

“By the way, they actually got them on buses. They said, ‘We want everyone.'” Nobody is illegal.” “They were gone within 48 hours,” he said.

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