An estimated 50 migrants touched down on the island earlier this week, surprising the community that had not expected their arrival but worked quickly to coordinate and respond to the migrants’ needs. On Friday, the group was taken to a military base to receive shelter and humanitarian aid, officials said.
The flight’s appearance was part of efforts by Republican governors critical of federal efforts to secure the southern border, which have begun transporting migrants to liberal cities and states. Also this week, two busloads of migrants sent by Texas Governor Greg Abbott arrived outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ official residence in the nation’s capital.
Many migrants sent to Massachusetts they didn’t want to stay on Martha’s Vineyard because they have family or friends in other parts of the country, like Miami and Portland, Oregon, and now they’re trying to figure it out. how to get tickets to those places, said Garcia. Three friends He talked about wanting to go to Florida, she added.
“It’s a political trick”, Garcia he told CNN by phone Saturday. “They’ll end up in Miami.”
Migrants released from government custody often travel to other U.S. cities while they go through immigration procedures.
The two flights of migrants that arrived in Massachusetts — and the Florida governor claimed credit — came from Texas, not Florida. But for months, DeSantis has been talking about plans to redirect migrants away from his state’s southern border and into liberal areas. And on Friday, Florida laid out hopes for buses full of paid immigrants and “likely more” flights, adding that “these are just the beginning efforts.”
said Garcia on Friday he spoke personally with about 11 migrants in Martha’s Vineyard and, separately, with some migrants in DC. Most of the migrants were happy with “the reception they received on Martha’s Vineyard”, but the Garcias believe they have been used for politics.
He criticized DeSantis and Abbott’s treatment of migrants, saying the governors “want to score political points with their base.”
Democratic leaders, migrant advocates and federal officials have also criticized the two governors’ moves. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre accused the governors of using migrants as “political pawns” and called their actions “a cruel premeditated political mistake.”
Lawyers for Civil Rights, a group of lawyers representing more than 30 migrants to Massachusetts, on Saturday urged Massachusetts US Attorney Rachael Rollins and the state’s attorney general to open criminal investigations into the flights, calling them “politically motivated.” “
Rollins told reporters Thursday that he would speak with members of the Justice Department about DeSantis sending the migrants to Massachusetts, adding that at the time he did not have enough information to say whether he had broken any laws in doing so, adding their first. the priority was to treat the people who arrived with respect.
Meanwhile, Garcia described Saturday the scene where migrants left Martha’s Vineyard for Joint Base Cape Cod — already designated an emergency shelter by the state’s emergency management agency — a day earlier and were greeted by local volunteers.
“Everybody was clapping and cheering,” he said. “Honestly, it’s what America should be.”
CNN’s Maria Santana contributed to this report.