Migrants airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard move to military base
EDGARTOWN, Mass. (AP) — Migrants airlifted to Martha’s Vineyard on the orders of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will be moved to housing on a military base on Cape Cod on Friday, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said.
The Republican governor said the move to the mainland would be voluntary. Baker praised Martha’s Vineyard residents and officials for caring for the nearly 50 migrants after their unexpected arrival on Wednesday, but said the island lacked the resources to house long-term migrants.
At Joint Base Cape Cod, migrants will receive dormitory-style housing, food and services, Baker said. Families will be housed separately.
Authorities have not said what will happen to migrants who choose not to move to Cape Cod.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will coordinate efforts to help migrants. Baker said the state would also activate up to 125 National Guard members to help with the relief effort.
Joint Base Cape Cod is home to a Coast Guard base as well as facilities for other branches of the armed forces.
Upon arrival at Martha’s Vineyard, where former President Barack Obama has a home, the migrants received meals, shelter, health care and information on where to find work.
The vacation island south of Boston, whose year-round residents include many blue-collar workers, appeared to absorb the dozens of arrivals, mostly from Venezuela, without a major hitch.
“We are grateful to the vendors, volunteers and local officials who have stepped up to Martha’s Vineyard over the past few days to provide immediate services to these individuals,” Baker said in a statement sent to reporters on Friday. “
Joint Base Cape Cod contains facilities for the U.S. Coast Guard and other branches of the armed forces and has provided emergency housing in the past, as it provided for Louisiana residents fleeing the devastation of the Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The governors of Texas and Arizona have sent thousands of migrants on buses to New York, Chicago and Washington, DC in recent months. But the latest surprise moves – which included two flights to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday paid for by Florida – have reached a new level of political theater that critics have called inhumane.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the flights to Martha’s Vineyard were part of an effort to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.” The Republican’s office did not respond to questions about where the migrants boarded the planes and what they were told about the trip.
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