Wednesday, about 50 migrants were flown to Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island accessible only by boat or air. According to the Vineyard Gazette, they were not expected, and “a coalition of emergency management officials, faith groups, nonprofit agencies and county and town officials” were forced to quickly find the migrants food and shelter.
Our island jumped into action putting together 50 beds, giving everyone a good meal, providing a play area for the children, making sure people have the healthcare and support they need. We are a community that comes together to support immigrants. pic.twitter.com/kG5bglhbLe— Dylan Fernandes (@RepDylan) September 15, 2022
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed credit for the flights and issued a statement saying “States like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden Administration’s open border policies,” according to CNN.
A closer look
- The flights, paid for by DeSantis, originated in San Antonio, and the migrants had not spent time in Florida before a brief layover on their way to Massachusetts, per NPR.
- According to the BBC, Florida has budgeted $12 million for transporting migrants.
- The median home price on the island is around $1 million, summer seasonal work is ending, and the island’s homeless shelter only has the capacity for 10 people, so it is unclear where the migrants will go, per The New York Times.
What to watch
- Texas Gov, Greg Abbott announced Thursday that over 100 migrants were dropped off outside Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington, D.C.
- He tweeted a statement saying, “the busing strategy is part of the state’s ongoing response to President Biden’s reckless border policies that are overwhelming border communities in Texas.”
Abbott has provided voluntary trips to almost 9,000 migrants, giving free bus rides to sanctuary cities like New York, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, according to The Texas Tribune.
These bus rides may inadvertently help migrants stay in the country longer. While The Texas Tribune reports that Houston and Dallas have denied 87% and 72% of asylum-seekers or other relief applications, respectively, while New York approved almost 70% since 2001.
Border Patrol encountered “an average of 900 migrants daily in August” through West Texas and New Mexico, and border towns and holding facilities cannot handle the influx according to The El Paso Times.
NPR reports that Lisa Del Castro, who runs the Martha’s Vineyard shelter where the migrants stayed Wednesday night said, “There’s some really sad stories. And then some people, the only thing they were expressing is how grateful they are to be here, and to be safe, and cared for, right? And, you know, their needs are immense right now.”