By: Margo Rawlings
Local News Editor
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flew a group of 50 Venezuelan migrants from San Antonio, Texas, to the vacation island of Martha’s Vineyard, off the coast of Massachusetts. His actions follow in the footsteps of Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who started sending buses of migrants to “blue” cities and sanctuary locations in April 2022. The immigrants seeking asylum in the United States from economically devastated Venezuela report that they were promised jobs by Governor DeSantis’ operatives, along with housing, and offered money to convince other migrants to fly to New England.
The little island of Martha’s Vineyard is a busy celebrity summer destination for politicians like the Obamas, the Clintons, and the Kennedys, as well as show business celebrities such as Bill Murray, Spike Lee, Oprah Winfrey, and Larry David. Like many other popular summer vacation locations, the peak of seasonal jobs drastically decreases after Labor Day, when the island returns to its usual quiet life. In spite of the limited structures available on the island to accommodate a disproportionately larger number of migrants, the locals worked together to provide shelter, food, and translation. Then migrants were voluntarily transferred to the Joint Base Cape Cod on the mainland and from there to other destinations.
More than two dozen immigrants flown from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard sued Ron DeSantis, the state of Florida, and the Florida Department of Transportation, alleging that a woman named “Perla” misled them into flying to Martha’s Vineyard. DeSantis claimed the immigrants were given information on where they were going and resources for when they arrived, explaining that it was “it was clearly voluntary.” He continued, asking, “why wouldn’t they want to go, given where they were?” The destinations selected were sanctuary cities where he claims the migrants will have better opportunities.
In April, with clearance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Abbott began bussing migrants to DC to “take the border to the Biden Administration.” In the summer, he sent more migrants to New York City and Chicago. Similarly, Ducey sent migrants to DC, for a total number of about 13,000 people from more than 300 buses as of mid-September 2022. As of Oct. 10, DeSantis plans to continue sending migrants to new destinations, such as Nantucket, Massachusetts. According to officials in Florida, Texas, and Arizona, these demonstrations are “designed to pressure Democratic politicians and the Biden administration to enact tougher border measures to deter illegal crossings”.
(Sources: CBS, NPR, MSNBC, NY Times, Washington Post)