On Wednesday night, two planes carrying migrants were dispatched to Martha’s Vineyard, causing a political debacle.
It has been revealed that the plane was dispatched by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
The move enraged Democratic politicians and sparked a desperate response from residents, leading to humanitarian assistance from residents backed by Massachusetts authorities.
DeSantis’ actions are part of a series of moves by Republican governors to protest what they see as inadequate federal efforts to secure the southern border.
Martha’s Vineyard is located off the coast of Massachusetts.
It is known as a chic summer destination, especially for the wealthy who vacation here.
Martha’s Vineyard provided a rare and unexpected destination for placing migrants.
DeSantis was certified the day after two planes were dispatched to the island.
“We are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures,” said the Florida Governor.
“Every community in America should be sharing in the burdens. It shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states.”
Rachel Rollins, an American attorney in Massachusetts, told reporters on Thursday that she would speak to Justice Department officials about DeSantis’s sending migrants to the vineyard.
Rollins said he doesn’t yet have enough information to determine whether he broke the law.
She also said that ensuring that those who arrive are treated with respect is a top priority.
More than 50 migrants from Martha’s Vineyard who arrived at his vineyard on Wednesday were arrested, according to a Massachusetts senator, Julian Cyr.
Cyr is a Democrat representing the Vineyard.
Edgartown town administrator James Hagerty said authorities believed the migrants came from Venezuela.
A local fire chief previously said the migrants on the plane were his family of seven, and he had four children aged three to eight.
“There was no advance notice to anyone in Martha’s Vineyard or Massachusetts that these migrants were arriving to my knowledge,” said Cyr.
As city and state officials shared next steps, Cyr emphasized that the focus now is on helping migrants as they arrive.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency was established to support local response efforts and is designed to coordinate activities on the ground.
Reaction to the move
The White House and Florida Democrats are outraged at Ron DeSantis’ claim to the action.
Florida Democratic Chair Manny Diaz said:
“Even for Ron DeSantis, this is a new low. There is nothing DeSantis won’t do, and nobody that he won’t hurt, in order to score political points.”
The Democratic candidate for governor of Florida, Charlie Crist, agrees.
“This is just another political stunt that hurts our state,” he said.
“Tonight, the 4.5 million immigrants who call Florida home must be wondering if they’re next.”
Meanwhile, the White House on Thursday condemned DeSantis’ actions along with the Republican governor’s decision.
Abbott sent two buses full of migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in the capital.
A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said migrants from the bus were safely transported to a local church.
White House Press Secretary Carine Jean-Pierre accused governors of using migrants as “political pawns.”
She denounced their actions as a “cruel, premeditated political stunt.”
Earlier this year, Arizona Republican government Doug Ducey began sending migrants to Washington.
Abbott has since expanded efforts to include New York and Chicago in similar moves.
Migrants released from state custody typically travel to other cities to complete immigration formalities.
It is unknown whether the migrants who arrived at Martha’s Vineyard knew where they were going.