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Massachusetts adapts to surprise arrival of migrants on Martha’s Vineyard



Colin A. Young

Community and political leaders on Martha’s Vineyard scrambled Wednesday night to secure accommodations for about 50 people who arrived on the island by plane, apparently sent as part of a Republican governor’s immigrant “relocation program.”

Gov. Charlie Baker’s office said it is supporting local efforts to provide short-term shelter for the immigrants who arrived on the Vineyard on Wednesday. Politico reported that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office confirmed that the planes holding roughly 50 people were sent to Massachusetts on behalf of what the governor’s office called Florida’s “relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.” ”

Currently immigrants are being dropped off on Martha’s Vineyard by chartered flights from Texas. Many don’t know where they are. They say they were told they would be given housing and jobs,” Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who represents the island, said on Twitter. Fernandes said islanders were “given no notice but are coming together as a community to support them.”

The Martha’s Vineyard Times reported that the immigrants are from Venezuela and that the group includes 10 to 12 children. The paper said that Dukes County Sheriff Robert Ogden spoke to the group outside Martha’s Vineyard Community Services late Wednesday afternoon and said, “We’re going to take care of you.” The immigrants were taken first to Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School and then to a church in Edgartown, where they spent the night. Local businesses provided pizza and coffee, and the local newspaper said that no medical issues were reported.

Already a hot-button issue at the national level and in states along the southern border, immigration is primed to be a central part of the Massachusetts political debate leading into the Nov. 8 general election.

The Legislature this year passed a law over Baker’s veto that would allow immigrants who live in Massachusetts without legal status in the country to get a state driver’s licenses. Opponents easily gathered more than enough signatures to give voters the opportunity to repeal that law on the November ballot. The Republican Party and its gubernatorial nominee Geoff Diehl expect that the repeal effort will gin up enthusiasm for his campaign as he squares off against Democrat Maura Healey. In a statement Thursday morning, Diehl blamed the Biden administration for a crisis at the southern border and said that when states see an influx of migrants that they “should not be forced to accommodate … governors naturally seek alternatives to protect the people of their state.” “I applaud the people of Martha’s Vineyard who instantly sprang into action to address this situation as it unfolded. I also lament the fact that a motivating factor in Florida’s decision to relocate immigrants here is that Massachusetts has become a ‘sanctuary state,’ making it a natural destination,” he said.



  1. MortisMaximus

    September 15, 2022 at 11:52 am

    Wait until the next 10 planes arrive then we’ll see what the true story is.

    • Not sure

      September 16, 2022 at 4:04 pm

      They deserve what they get. ALL OF THEM. Illegals and their elitist fan club.

      • MortisMaximus

        September 16, 2022 at 8:39 pm

        They’re all going to receive awards and your going to get the bill. Martha’s Vineyard Humanatarian of the Summer award.

  2. MortisMaximus

    September 16, 2022 at 10:41 am

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