A new bill introduced by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, seeks to establish new ports of entry in “Democrat-led communities” such as Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to process immigrants coming from the country’s southern border.
The “Stop the SURGE Act” would relocate immigrants from South Texas to 13 new ports of entry: Martha’s Vineyard; Nantucket; Block Island, R.I.; Newport, R.I.; Greenwich, Conn.; Cambridge.; Governors Island, N.Y.; Scarsdale, N.Y.; Rehoboth Beach, Del.; Palo Alto, Calif.; Yountville, Calif.; St. Helena, Calif.; and North Hero, Vt.
According to a news release on Cruz’s website Tuesday, the bill is proposed to alleviate pressure on border patrol and local law enforcement at the Texas southern border due to the “massive influx of illegal immigrants.”
“For the past 10 months, President Biden and his administration have willingly surrendered the United States’ southern border to dangerous criminal cartels, with no thought given to the South Texas border communities like McAllen and Del Rio, which are running low on resources from dealing with this massive influx of illegal immigrants,” Cruz said in the news release. “That’s why today I am introducing this crucial legislation to alleviate the massive overload at the southern border by establishing new ports of entry in Democrat-led communities such as North Hero, Vermont, where Bernie Sanders spends his summers, and Martha’s Vineyard, where Democrat elites host their cocktail parties.”
U.S. Rep. Bill Keating, D-MA 9th District, criticized the proposed legislation. “Why is it that whenever Ted Cruz is facing a crisis in Texas, his mind seems to wander to vacation destinations? First it was Cancun, now it’s Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard,” Keating told The Times. “Last week he voted to default on our nation’s debt, now he’s wasting resources on lame political stunts.”
Similarly, state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, lambasted the legislation. “Senator Cruz is an attention-seeking tool who knowingly lies about conspiracy theories to undermine American democracy. He’s an embarrassment to the country, and not worth commenting on,” Fernandes told The Times in a text message.
County commissioner Keith Chatinover also voiced opposition to Cruz in a text message to The Times. “I would love Martha’s Vineyard to become a haven for new immigrants to this country, but Senator Cruz has no idea what he’s talking about regarding a ‘border crisis,’” Chatinover told The Times in a text message. “Immigrants make our country stronger (as evidenced by immigration from Brazil and other countries to the Vineyard), and he is trying to whip up racial anxieties for political gain, which is essentially the entire GOP platform anyhow.”
Joe Gervais, president of Tashmoo Insurance and the moderator of the Martha’s Vineyard Republican Club Facebook page, told The Times he did not have time to read Cruz’s bill, but said immigration has already had an effect on Martha’s Vineyard.
“We have seen a large influx of immigrants from Brazil entering our country from Mexico. This influx has added to the difficulty in finding low-end rental units. Attendance at Brazilian churches is up due to the influx, too,” Gervais wrote. “My insurance agency has sold many new policies to recent arrivals. Businesses which utilize newly arrived and unskilled labor (e.g., landscaping and house cleaning) now have many more workers to choose from than previous years. Established Vineyard residents who are from our sister community of Mantenópolis, Brazil, are seeing people they are used to seeing in Mantenópolis now living here.”
Jesse Brown, a Republican running against Keating for the state’s 9th District, criticized Keating’s work on immigration: “If Congressman Bill Keating had ever visited the border like I did, he would understand that illegal immigration is a crisis for all of America, not just Southern border states. But instead of working to secure the border and protect Americans, Keating supported amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. Legislation like this wouldn’t be necessary to get his attention if he understood the severity of the humanitarian crisis at our southern border.”