GASKET BASE CAPE COD — Shortly after noon on Friday, a group of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, arrived at their new temporary home on Cape Cod after an unexpected arrival Wednesday on Martha’s Vineyard.
Authorities have been working to house, feed and support the group of about 50 migrants since arriving on the wealthy Massachusetts island on Wednesday afternoon.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis took credit for chartering both flights, but it’s unclear whether he had the authority to do so. A DeSantis spokesperson said the migrants were airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard as part of the governor’s “promise to drop off undocumented migrants in progressive states.”
Their arrival comes after Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey criticized the Biden administration’s border security and immigration policies and bused migrants in New York, Chicago and Washington. By late August, nearly 8,000 migrants had been moved on state-sponsored bus trips, straining cities’ resources.
Biden on Thursday called the decision reckless and un-American. “Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” Biden said.
CONTEXT:DeSantis says 50 people airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard are ‘illegal immigrants’
AND AFTER?Texas, Arizona migrant buses to US cities, and now Chicago
On Friday, the group was transferred to Joint Base Cape Cod, a facility that houses five military commands, where state and local officials were coordinating food, shelter and essential services with volunteers, the Dukes County Emergency Management Association said in a statement.
Here’s what we know:
Migrants have been ‘lied to again and again’, says immigration lawyer
Migrants who arrived at Martha’s Vineyard were falsely told there would be jobs and housing waiting for them when they arrived, an immigration lawyer told reporters on Thursday.
“The accounts of the migrants who arrived last night clearly show that they have been lied to again and again,” said Rachel Self.
They were “fraudulently enticed to board planes”, Self
Julio Henriquez, a lawyer who met several migrants, said they “had no idea where they were going or where they were”.
Many migrants have appointments with ICE Monday morning in Texas, Washington and DC, Self said — appointments they fear they will miss.
U.S. officials told immigration attorneys the required records would be delayed, Henriquez said. Homeland Security officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
Bus, ferry take the group to Cape Cod
The group left a church where they had taken refuge on Friday and boarded buses bound for the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal. Police and state emergency management officials escorted the group through a crowd of people. As the migrants passed flashing cameras, they paused to bid farewell to the islanders who welcomed them.
At the ferry terminal, Everlides Dela Hoz said she didn’t know where she was headed. Dela Hoz came from Venezuela with her husband and 25-year-old son. On Friday, she said she was told there would be beds and it would be safe and promised help to find work.
After a short passage to the mainland, the migrants arrived at the Steamship Authority’s Woods Hole station. Onlookers burst into applause as their bus, driven by a state police escort, left the boat.
State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, a Democrat, told reporters at the Steamship Authority wharf in Woods Hole that migrants had the option of getting to the base, but he didn’t know the exact number of people there. arrived on Friday.
“This is what good government really looks like, what compassionate government really looks like,” Fernandes said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the people of Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod and couldn’t be prouder to have a state team that pulled this together so quickly. We are a community that came together to give them the resources they needed, there was an outpouring of support from everywhere to help them.
After:Cubans, Haitians are fleeing to the United States in historic numbers. These crises fuel migration.
Next stop: Joint Base Cape Cod
On Friday morning, Governor Charlie Baker’s office announced plans to provide new shelter and humanitarian support to the base, located on the Upper Cape, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency and other officials. The governor said he would activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to assist him.
At Joint Base Cape Cod, migrants will find respite in dormitory-style accommodations. Emergency management officials said there will be spaces for singles and families, and families will stay together. They will receive clothing and toiletry kits, as well as food.
Officials said they will also have access to legal and healthcare services, as well as mental health and crisis counseling services. Interpreters will be present to facilitate communication.
Joint Base Cape Cod is a 22,000 acre facility and designated emergency shelter in Barnstable County. It is used by the National Guard, Air Force and Coast Guard for training exercises. It is the only Coast Guard aviation facility in the northeast and monitors the waters from New Jersey to the Canadian border.
Little information provided on flights
DeSantis drew on the playbook of fellow Republican, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, surprising Democratic-led cities and states with large influxes of migrants. Providing little or no information is part of the plan.
The migrants received brochures and maps of Massachusetts on board their flight, but did not know where they were going, said Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants.
Florida Governor DeSantis:50 people airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard are ‘illegal immigrants’
Both flights from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard stopped in the Florida Panhandle, Henriquez said. The Miami Herald reported the flights originated in Texas with stopovers in Florida and North Carolina, citing information from flight tracking company FlightAware.
Meanwhile, questions arise over whether the DeSantis administration was allowed to transport migrants from his state. The Miami Herald reported that DeSantis’ comments at a press conference on Thursday suggest “his efforts kept these migrants from getting to Florida.” According to the state budget, the DeSantis administration is only allowed to “transport unauthorized aliens from this state,” the Herald reported.
Biden: Republicans ‘do politics with human beings’
Some Republicans, including Stephen Miller, chief architect of former President Donald Trump’s immigration policies, celebrated the surprise thefts while critics called them inhumane.
Column:Ron DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard stunt cruelly uses migrants as human pawns, helping no one
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused DeSantis and Abbott of abandoning the migrants at Martha’s Vineyard and called the incident a “cruel political coup” on Thursday.
President Joe Biden echoed that sentiment hours later when he slammed Republican officials at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala.
“Instead of working with us on solutions, Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” Biden said. “What they’re doing is just plain wrong. It’s not American. It’s reckless.”
Contributor: N’dea Yancey-Bragg, USA TODAY; Bruce Bowman, Pensacola News-Journal; Gwenn Friss, Cape Cod Times; Associated press