National immigration debate comes to Martha’s Vineyard

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Less than 24 hours after 50 migrants and refugees from Venezuela arrived at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, the Island is on the national stage — leading national news broadcasts and trending on Twitter.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who threatened to send immigrants to the Island a year ago, is claiming responsibility for what his political opponents are calling a “political stunt.”

Wilmer Javier, who arrived with his cousin and her husband and their child, said he thought they were headed to Boston and “all of a sudden the plane landed here.” Javier said everyone that arrived Thursday was flown from San Antonio, where they had been for 15 days.

Before that, Javier said he traveled from Venezuela and through Mexico.

They relayed through an interpreter that they came under the assumption that they were going to be helped and provided with employment opportunities and housing.

They don’t have family here, they don’t know anyone in Massachusetts, nor does he really know the rest of the group. Javier said he doesn’t know what to do, and is “at the mercy” of strangers at this point.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement through a spokesman Thursday saying Texas was not directly involved in flying the migrants to Massachusetts.. “Our office has had conversations with Governor DeSantis and his team about supporting our busing strategy to provide much-needed relief to our overwhelmed and overrun border communities,” spokesperson Renae Eze said. “Though we were not involved in these initial planes to Martha’s Vineyard, we appreciate the support in responding to this national crisis and helping Texans. Governor Abbott encourages and welcomes all his fellow governors to engage in this effort to secure the border and focus on the failing and illegal efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to continue these reckless open border policies.”

As the Island woke up Thursday morning, emergency officials met via Zoom to discuss next steps. 

At midday state Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, told The Times that the migrants will likely spend at least one more night at St. Andrews Church as state and federal officials consider a long-term plan to care for the individuals brought to the Island.

“At this point that’s pretty likely,” Fernandes said of them staying in Edgartown.. “We have some ongoing calls coming up with the state.”

Just after 2 pm, Gov. Charlie Baker issued a statement saying he is exploring the use of Joint Base Cape Cod. ““On behalf of the commonwealth, I thank everyone on the ground who quickly came together to provide assistance on the Vineyard,” Baker said. “The commonwealth has many resources for assisting individuals that arrive in Massachusetts with varying immigration statuses and needs and is working with all partners involved to make sure those resources are available to the migrants that arrived last night. In addition, the Baker-Polito Administration is exploring setting up temporary shelter and humanitarian services at Joint Base Cape Cod and will share additional information as soon as it becomes available.” 

Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), also offered her support and use of the tribe’s community center. “This is a humanitarian issue of the first order.  These people are human beings, individuals and families who deserve to be treated with kindness, compassion, dignity and respect,” she said. “This isn’t the first instance of us, the Wampanoag, assisting migrant people seeking asylum and the promise of a new life and new homeland. These are our indigenous brothers and sisters and we as the tribal government and community are committed to assisting where we are able to. We began by offering our Community Center as a temporary shelter. And, we are working with the towns, county, state and our federal partners to figure out additional support services and the best pathway forward.”

Andrews-Maltais also blasted DeSantis. “The (Florida) governor’s scheme to just ship these people and families anywhere, to make a political statement and make it someone else’s problem, is disgraceful; not only patently disrespectful, it ignores the dangers and struggles of these people’s situation,” she said. “Considering his own personal story, you would think he’d have a bit more understanding and compassion for all migrants.”

Thursday morning, hospital workers arrived at St. Andrews Church where there migrants and refugees were sheltered and fed to offer more supplies and volunteers.

“People have been amazing. The Islanders have been amazing,” Janet Constantino from MV Community Services, said.

The shelter at the church has received a deluge of donations of both food and clothing and has run out of storage space, Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee told The Times.

On the department’s Facebook page, they wrote that they have “been in contact with those staffing the shelter” and “at this time, nothing further is needed, so please do not drop off anything at the shelter.” 

“Please help us keep traffic flowing by avoiding this area of town if at all possible. We will keep you updated if further supplies and support are needed,” the post reads. 

At the church Thursday morning, Rep. Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, discussed the outpouring of support on the Vineyard.

“We have the situation under control. Local law enforcement jumped into action. The entire community sprung into action. We got people the beds they needed — the food, water, and shelter, medical support — quickly,” he said.

Today, the migrants and refugees are being served breakfast by the parish and lunch will be handled by the school department, Fernandes said. “We’re a community that’s welcoming, a community that helps one another and you see that today embodied on Martha’s Vineyard.”

Once again, Fernandes lashed out at DeSantis.
“I think it’s incredibly inhumane that an individual would use human beings — men, women and children. There are people here, I’m told, as young as 4 years old, as political pawns, put them on an airplane and ship them like cattle — not even being told where they’re going. Some people, I’m told, thought they were going to New York,” he said. “To use women and children as political pawns is cowardice. Gov. DeSantis is a coward and you see here today that this is an Island community and this is a state that’s going to support and help its most vulnerable people.”

He reiterated that it was a political stunt by DeSantis. “He wanted to create chaos. The immigrants who showed up were met with nothing but compassion by Islanders who stepped up and helped give them the support they need,” Fernandes said. “I think that shows the best of this community and I think that shows the best of America. 

Fernandes said the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency will be helping to come up with a long-term solution. “This is a temporary area. We’re working on triaging,” he said. “We’re making sure that everyone is as safe and comfortable as possible.”

Asked if they would be moved off-Island, Fernandes pointed out that Martha’s Vineyard already has a strained housing situation. “It’s likely we’ll need an off-Island location. All of that is being explored,” he said. “We’re going to keep supporting, feeding, housing these immigrant families for as long as they are here.”

Oak Bluffs Fire and EMS Chief Nelson Wirtz, chair of the Dukes County Emergency Managers, told The Times Thursday night he was proud of the strong response the community has provided both at the government level and the volunteer level. Wirtz said if anyone thought the care needs of the migrants wouldn’t be met and that Vineyarders would be overwhelmed, they were wrong.

Rabbi Caryn Broitman of the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center sent out a statement commending the Island community and calling for Spanish speakers to go to St. Andrews Church to help as translators. Martha’s Vineyard faith leaders met together on Thursday for further discussion about the situation. 

“Each congregation wants to help,” Rev. Stephen Harding of Grace Episcopal Church said. He told The Times that Island faith leaders are working with their congregants to figure out the best way they can help the migrants. However, he recommended sending questions about how people can help the migrants through volunteering or donations to send an email to emd@dcsoma.org.  

When asked, Harding said there is no “central fund” people can donate money to for the migrants at this time. 

It’s a breezy, crisp autumn like morning on the Island and several of the refugees have been given sweatshirts to stay warm.

Chicken Alley in Vineyard Haven also received many donations for the migrants.

“We live in a compassionate community that steps up, and we are going to do everything we can in this situation. It makes me incredibly sad that people would use human beings for political gain,” Sandy Pimentel, Chicken Alley employee and member of the Martha’s Vineyard Diversity Coalition, said. 

At the Woods Hole ferry terminal, two television crews were set up to do live shots — some stopping passengers getting off the ferry and asking them to comment on the situation that unfolded Wednesday.

Wednesday night, the Dukes County Emergency Management Association made a call for volunteers on Facebook for the “unexpected ongoing urgent humanitarian situation,” whether that be in clinical or non-clinical role. The association asks those who would like to help to contact them at 508-684-8015. 

A GoFundMe has been set up by Sarah Goulet to benefit Martha’s Vineyard Community Foundation for the migrant situation and has raised $2,100 of its $10,000 goal so far. 

“It’s certainly amazing how caring this community is,” Emily Bramhall, executive director of the foundation, said. Bramhall told The TImes the foundation is currently working with other Island organizations and churches to figure out the best way to approach the situation.

Reporters Eunki Seonwoo, Abigail Rosen, and Rich Saltzberg contributed to this story.

63 COMMENTS

  1. So the short term solution is to rally around the illegal immigrants and say all the PC things like let’s open up our hearts and homes. What is the long term solution? Is MV just going to bus them somewhere else, after all the current infrastructure can’t handle the current population. And resources are not only limited but very expensive. This is a recipe for disaster.

    This is what people voted for. On national TV the democrats running for President all raised their hands when asked about welcoming all migrants and providing free healthcare to rounding applause. Well you got what you asked for. Just a word of caution that desperate people do desperate things. If I were someplace strange, didn’t speak the language and was cold and hungry and saw empty homes, I think my survival instincts would set in. Just as an example a friend in NJ had his home broken into and the person was caught. He was here for only 25 days and hadn’t eaten In 3 days. He was released due to the sanctuary status of NJ with no shot of being held accountable for his crime. What will MV’s policy be for something like this? And don’t say it can’t happen here. The sinister side of me thinks that the people sending people here would like to see crime go up too. And if a horrific crime is committed can we hold one of these sates responsible?

      • Ok… I’ll simplify the question. What is the long term solution for the illegal immigrants on MV? It’s against federal law to hire them so they can’t even provide for themselves. Do we just put them up and feed them for the 10 years it will take before going before an immigration court? And good luck fighting “colonization” I assume you will be the first to give up all that you have worked for.

        • You don’t have to just give up everything outright to fight colonization, you know. It can be a process. You can transfer power back to the Native people, give them back their land and let them decide what happens. You can work with them.

          • Mathias, really? A process? Like it or not there are natural laws and we as humans have to live by them too. One of them is the strong will survive. And that sadly means that the strong take land for their survival. Simple as that. If you can round up enough native Americans to take their land back have at it. What do you think the reason is for Russia Ukrain war is all about? Repatriation. Their country is dying and Putin is looking to save it. Birth rates are down, immigration is up and life expectancy is down. Nature will take its course. Whoever wins shall win. And all the whining isn’t going change a thing. Sorry to be the downer in your utopian thinking. And to be clear I’m not agreeing with Putin just stating the obvious.

    • It isn’t up to MV to decide what/where these people go, this is up to the state and federal gov. Haters gonna hate. I’m glad they will be getting more humane treatment up in the NE then they will in Texas or Florida.

    • Carl– you are a pretty reasonable person. SO , I ask that you think about what you say, and understand the concepts that you speak of.
      “Sanctuary city”—Most of my ignorant conservative friends, and indeed many people here, think a sanctuary city is a place you can never be charged for a crime if you are “illegal”
      It simply means that the city in question will not co operate with federal immigration agents.
      That means not turning school age children to ice agents to be deported for no reason other than their parents have overstayed a visa.
      Immigration enforcement is the responsibility of the federal government, not first grade school teachers.
      “Illegals” — when a citizen from any country goes through or climbs over the “impenetrable and unscalable wall” that mexico did not pay for, they are “illegal” the second their foot touches U.S soil.
      When they wait for border patrol to take them into custody, go through an initial hearing to determine if they should be immediately deported or given undocumented status while awaiting a more thorough hearing.
      Undocumented is not illegal.
      Let me be clear– If Gov Abbot put a person on a plane or bus that is truly illegal,– that is, they found them in the desert and put them on a bus without an initial ice hearing – he is engaging in human trafficking. Every illegal migrant is a fugitive, and helping any illegal person travel further into the country is clearly illegal- even if you are a Governor.
      U.S law requires that anyone arriving at the border is entitled to a hearing if they request asylum. Today, every person who comes into ice custody is tested for covid and given emergency medical care if needed. Every single one that is eligible for a covid vaccination shot and wants one, can have one. Many are deported right away.
      If you want to complain about how long it takes to have a hearing as to whether someone can stay here, blame you know who for creating a backlog as a deterrent to come here.
      If I were a starving and persecuted Venezuelan and heard that the gov of texas was offering free plane rides to some of the countries best resort cities, I would climb that wall in a heartbeat.
      Also– these people claim they had no idea where they were going. I wonder how many of them actually though they had a choice, as armed Texas rangers “escorted” them onto the planes. Transporting underage children across state without the consent or the consent of their parents is kidnapping. I want to see the forms these people filled out stating that this was voluntary.

      The next time I am in San Diego, I am going to cross into Tijuana and demand a free plane ride to Cancun.

      • Don, excellent point about sanctuary cities and the non compliance with federal immigration officials. So to clean up my comment sanctuary cities AND bail reform is the reason why criminals both legal and illegal are not adjudicated. Illegals who commit crimes should be deported but the LE in New Jersey and other sanctuary states are forbidden to report those crimes. That’s a fact. Bail reform puts those persons who broke certain laws, criminal trespass, in the example I gave above back out on he street without bail. Bail was used to insure that a defendant would show up for court. And one of the things you needed to be bonded out was a verifiable address. So in many cases bail reform and sanctuary locals literally let people here illegally walk out the door without any reason to return. Or even find later. Those are facts and I appreciate you letting me explain them.

        Also I think I have overstayed my welcome on this topic as some of my comments are not making it so this will be my last out of respect to George. I may have over done it. Thanks Don, see you on another topic.

      • Just a couple of additional facts here: These folks that were sent here were told they were going to Boston. Also, none of these people have Covid as they were all tested. They are not illegal as they have been “processed “ and waiting for asylum status.

        In my discussion with others I tell them to put themselves in the others shoes. I am well traveled and have been places where I was “ the stranger in a strange land”, and those people were helpful, treated me with respect and kindness… that’s the least we can do to our temporary visitors from Venezuela.

        • I too am well travelled, however, I was ALWAYS scrutinized and cross-examined and I certainly never felt I could just come into their country and expect/demand they totally clothe, feed, house, provide financial support, education to my children, free healthcare and on and on. I know people who have 10 children as unwed Mother because the government pays them $1000/mo. for each child a single mom has. There is something hugely wrong with the system. Why isn’t our government putting pressure on the countries they are fleeing from to better provide a humane life for their own people. I am born and raised here and have always tried to be a law abiding citizen and yet I struggle to survive financially because I don’t believe in the government totally supporting me by “working the system” the way so many of these people do. It is a very slippery slope our country is currently on.

  2. The way the Islanders have come together to help these people is inspiring . Gov. DeSantis and Gov. Abbott should keep sending their newest arrivals there .

  3. “Christian conservatives’ hypocrisy exposed, as human traffickng comes to MV” would be a more apt headline.

    Most people in the other thread on this topic are not islanders. Islanders will do what we can to help these victims of Christian conservative hypocrisy, racism, and xenophobia. Using human beings as pawns would be a grave, unforgivable, cruelest of sins– among ethical leaders, that is.

    • How about “”Jewish liberals”” Jackie. Your repeated mantra is tired. You constantly get away with “”Christian conservatives”” but let’s see if Brennan allows “”Jewish liberals””

      • Andrew, I have replied to Jackie about this very thing but I have apparently been moderated. Evidently comparing about one’s dissenting opinions enough gets you silenced. But thank you for calling her out and the Times on this

      • Engelman, I “get away with” telling the truth. Surely you don’t believe that the obscene cruelty of using human beings, including children, as pawns is the act of real Christians who, you know, live as Christians and practice their Christianity in their lives. I’ve known real Christians all my life. These ain’t them.

        Decent people of all religions and no religion at all are donating to help these victims. You can, too, engelman, if you care about human lives. Hope you’ll donate and encourage your conservative island friends to do the same.

        • Jackie I have seen poverty and misery all over world while you lived in your shell. My mother sold her clothes on the street to provide food for me and my sister. All countries have borders and immigration policies except this one for the last 20 months. This is not about people struggling to survive in despotic countries. The U.S can’t take the hundreds of millions in that condition. As for donating I support Evangelical causes, anti abortion and adoption, and Jews for Jesus. All things you dislike.

          • Engelman, your family does not hold a trophy for suffering. Neither does my family, which I can assure you does not live “in a shell”. Suffering or having compassion for it are not a competition. Why do you keep bringing up your suffering, your family, when other people’s suffering is staring you in the face? Is one life more precious in your religion? We all choose to support those needs that are closest to our hearts, so I understand your support of mostly evangelical causes. We all have only so much time or money. What I don’t understand is why you express little to no compassion for those not in your bubble. For example, you thought it was “dumb” to get “excited” about the dismembered journalist because “it happens all the time”. You still haven’t answered my question about this political stunt. Do you support or in any way condone DeSantis’s cruel deception on those 50 souls seeking a better life for themselves and their children, like your mother wanted for you? I don’t suppose you’ll answer a simple yes or no question, but if I had a Magic 8 Ball, it would read, “All signs point to YES.”

    • It is wrong to call this human trafficking, Jackie. DeSantis is twisting this into a political farce, but this is actually standard procedure now that Trump is back out of office — instead of being deported, they’re being relocated to sanctuary areas that have the resources to take care of them — remember, the border states deal with this all the time and need our help. The flights are paid for by FEMA and the policy is well-established by the DHS. This is a federal program. This is the way it’s been for years except for briefly under Drumpf — DeSantis is basically trying to trick us into thinking it’s bad so we’ll vote for tougher immigration as part of their mythical “red wave” fantasy. Don’t fall for it.

      • Grace– where do you get the idea that these flights were paid for by FEMA ?
        While FEMA does relocate people in emergency situations, they do not just dump people in front of community services buildings without notice.

        • DeSantis paid for the flights out of FL’s $12 mil allocation of Covid funding from the fed govt. His little stunt is the outlier — the Biden admin is paying for similar flights (of which there are many, many more) via FEMA funds. This has been going on since he entered office (https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/immigration/biden-sent-70-secret-night-flights-of-migrants-from-border-to-florida).

          FL had to pay for the MV flights out of their own pockets because Biden DHS can’t adequately address the border surge that’s been going on since Trump left office. We’re having a humanitarian crisis on MV after 50 migrants — imagine how FL, TX, AZ are handling it. Have some compassion. The people have spoken — this is what America chose instead of dehumanizing deportation. This is the right way to do things, and DeSantis did the compassionate thing (I can’t believe I’m saying this) by sending them to a sanctuary area — this is of our own design, assuming we are all on the same page here and voted for a compassionate border policy and offered our Island as a sanctuary.

          Frankly I’m embarrassed at all of the handwringing on MV over just 50 migrants, yes we have a housing crisis and limited resources, but so does FL, frankly a less privileged place than MV. And MV’s fast mobilization with food and goods is to be applauded, but ultimately, as Lisa Belcastro said on TV, the migrants can’t and won’t stay here. They’ll be relocated while everyone else is basking in the afterglow of their donation spree, patting each other on the back. But these migrants aren’t helpless charity cases who needed all the free stuff Islanders just plied on them (which was frankly just a lot of patronizing “virtue-signaling”, as the conservatives call it) — these are functional families who intentionally left behind their troubled home and support system looking for jobs and especially a place to live, and they’re not going to find that here on MV.

          The longer I’ve been sitting with this, the more I’ve realized how shameful it is that we had the nerve to posture ourselves as a sanctuary jurisdiction when the only resources we have are empty summer homes, beautiful land, etc, that the Island population will never see used for anything but their own private and conservation-related purposes. There’s nothing wrong with those purposes — but we shouldn’t have put ourselves out there as a sanctuary, knowing these limitations.

          I am a proud Democrat but I think it’s shocking that people can’t see that, for all his BS, Ron DeSantis did the right thing sending them to us, since we offered our Island as a sanctuary. We just all look like privileged, whiny hypocrites. I’ll be the first to admit that wanting to be a sanctuary was a narcissistic bluff, an ignorant fantasy — the proof is in the pudding, they’re being sent away by us. Is that kidnapping too? Come now. Now that we finally have a taste of what the border communities are dealing with — literally, just barely a taste of what they’ve been going through for two years — we could stand to have a little compassion for our fellow Americans down there, many of whom are immigrants who did things the right (legal) way — like me

          • There was no compassion in what DeSantis did. You don’t spend millions of dollars to send fifty people somewhere without so much as a heads-up phone call. Not unless you’re intentionally trying to cause chaos upon their arrival. You don’t deny those people the right to know where they’re going and fill them full of lies about jobs in Boston unless you’re a manipulative jerk. He obviously knew exactly what he was doing, as did those helping him. This is not standard procedure, and his motives are plain as day.

          • Grace. “Just 50 immigrants”? “JUST”?

            Save one person, save the world is the Jewish outlook. What’s the Christian way of looking at this? Looking down one’s nose at 50 lives being only a drop in the immigration bucket and assuming compassionate folks pat themselves on the back for giving time, money, and goods? What kind of thinking is that? Is that suppposed to be Christian? I’m honestly asking. In my view, it is lacking in grace to look at human suffering and the yearning for a better life as you are doing.

            By the way, we’re not having a “humanitarian crisis on MV”. Islanders stepped up to prevent it from becoming a crisis, as most islanders are wont to do. I’m not a religious person, but I am glad I was raised in the Jewish tradition not to be so offhand about 50 lives, 7 of whom are children.

            Finally, real Democrats don’t use the conservatively biased Washington Examiner and Tucker Carlson-type arguments to make their biased point about their (your) lack of compassion and whataboutism. Last week another conservative on here made the point on another topic that getting “excited” over one chopped up body was “dumb”. Why? Because it’s been going on for a long time. There seems to be a pattern here among conservatives and their inability to consider every life as sacred.

          • Grace– let me resort to numbers..
            The Vineyard has a year round population of about 20,000
            adding just 50 people represents a .25% increase in the population. That would be the equivalent of about 52,000 people being dropped off , unannounced on the streets of Florida.
            I wonder how they would handle that ?
            And just some food for thought here. I am sure northern cities could find 52,000 homeless people on the streets that would gladly take a free bus ride to Florida to escape the cold northern streets.

  4. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”. Let’s be a beacon of light to all immigrants. What better place to start a new life than on Marthas Vineyard. We have hundreds of large empty homes all over the island, great schools and jobs that go begging. Let’s show Florida, Arizona and other border states how to do it right. We’ve invited them in, now is the time to reach out, stand up and say Welcome! The question is, who’s in charge and what’s the plan? Once there’s a plan in place we can all pitch in and help.

    • You are correct! Every Islander should welcome these new residents with open arms. The MV population overwhelmingly support Joe Biden and his policies which are giving us an incredible influx of migrants across our southern border. What better way to honor President Biden and his policies than to take in every migrant possible. MV has plenty of wealth and resources to handle this influx of new residents including huge homes that can be modified to house these new residents in an island paradise. Make Joe proud!

      • This is not about Joe. Literally the only reason anyone voted for Joe was to get Trump out. Everyone wants to ignore the cause of this crisis: colonialism. Always the band-aid over the deep cut. That was the last guy: Trump. That’s why you have Biden now. He’s not the solution, he’s just the guy after Trump, and so too will the next guy be the guy after Biden. It’s all theater. I realize it’s inconvenient to recognize when one is an invader- those who are not Indigenous People, i.e. you and I- as it presents a serious moral dilemma. We grew up in this country. It is all we have ever known. I did not ask to be born where I was, and yet, I am an invader because I am part of the invading system I was born into. And so are you. Awareness is recognizing where you are. A-where-ness. You can complain all you want about our country being overrun with people who illegally crossed the border, but at the end of the day, those people have committed no moral transgression simply by being here- and the Church recognizes that. Being Indigenous makes it their land to anyone with a morally-sound bone in their body. They’ve got a right to it, just not under our laws- and that’s the only argument you’ve got, and barely. We proclaim ourselves rulers of this land, which we stole. But we are not the rightful rulers. We were and are violent in our acquisitions. There are lots of fine details around immigration law, and every one of those migrants is an individual with their own story and set of circumstances. Our international policy saw their countries destabilized, and we ruined their lands and cultures over hundreds of years, beginning with the arrival of Columbus.

        The issue here is not that DeSantis sent migrants to MV and elsewhere. It’s that he didn’t even try to work out a deal with the blue states, neither before or after pursuing Federal options. He just lied to them, and then dumped them, unannounced. If he just gave a date, preparations could have been made ahead of time and a plan laid out. The sanctuary cities said they’d take the immigrants. Why weren’t we contacted to make a deal? DeSantis is using these people as pawns in an attempt to artificially create an issue that doesn’t need to exist, save for his own political gain. He’s just a man-child looking to get his way. He deserves nobody’s respect. The migrants are here, and we welcome them.

        • Well said Mathias, I’m not sure that the Vineyard itself is a “Sanctuary city “, but I know for a fact that Massachusetts is a Sanctuary State and I’m happy to say that I live here.

          These people come from dangerous situations at home in Venezuela, and they have risked their lives trying to come to the USA for a better life. In spite of what others think , the USA still has a better form of government then the rest of the countries in the world. We should be able to welcome those of other countries who want to legally enter the country and seek asylum like these families and young men have done. Just because that “sneaky worm”, de Santis, launched his inhumane ploy, and literally dumped these people on our Island without notice, doesn’t mean we have to be just as cruel as he is and ignore these Venezuelans immediate needs.

          Gov. Baker has been clear that Massachusetts is a sanctuary state. We have welcomed immigrants from Afghanistan during their plight, Ukrainians as they can get here, and now a mere 50 people from Venezuela who are looking for jobs and modest housing.

          And one more thing…. These grand, empty summer homes that seem to sprout up on our island for better or worse are not our property…so we don’t have a right to dictate what is to be done with them!

          Come on people… let’s be good and thoughtful neighbors to the larger community of man, help out these Venezuelan folks who will most likely move on as it is way too expensive to live here when you are broke like these good folks are!

    • “You shall have the same rule for the sojourner and for the native, for I am the Lord your God.” Leviticus 24:22

      Sounds like immigrants are not above the law according to the Good Book. It also says they should be treated with love — how is being escorted for free to sanctuary cities not loving? More like red carpet treatment!

      • Heidi, first I’m going to state here that one book from one religion is meaningless. Moreover, there are countless denominations of Christianity and just as many interpretations of the Bible. There is, to understate, a pretty good chance your interpretation is incorrect. Second, nobody should have to explain to you that DeSantis did this out of cruelty and utter disregard for these people, and spite for the Liberals. That’s what’s in his wicked heart. He lied to the migrants, then dumped them here without so much as a phone call. “Thou shalt not bear false witness.” It’s not love to lie to desperate people and tell them they’re going to destination A, then have them sent to desination B- it is a moral transgression called malicious deception, different from the kind of deception a parent uses when talking to their children about Santa Clause or the Tooth Fairy.

        DeSantis was hoping we wouldn’t know how to respond. We proved him wrong. He doesn’t get to take credit for love and kindness shown to the migrants. We do.

        It is peculiar to me that, as a non-Christian, I seem to have a better grip on the Bible’s meaning than you do. For your own benefit, I suggest you try learning some teachings from many other religions for comparison and see if you can identify a common theme. It’s not all about one book, and that book should never be used to subvert the true meaning of its own teachings. Practice your faith however you like, but be a decent person and don’t twist words around to suit your agenda- especially concerning a matter of morality.

    • This is actually humane, and Islanders calling this kidnapping are twisting Biden’s immigration policy into something it’s not. Under Trump they would have been deported. Instead, they are relocated to sanctuary areas like MV who actually want them, and the program is paid for by Biden’s DHS/FEMA. DeSantis is taking credit where it’s actually not due — yes, it’s his state’s decision to relocate them when their resources are strained, but Biden’s admin made the whole scheme possible. Unfortunately, MV doesn’t have the resources to live up to the pledge, and likely will decline FEMA’s proposed Island refugee camp, although we have plenty of room for it. But the Land Bank and the NAMBY types will never loosen their grip on that. All that remains is for people to open their homes, and I’m sure there are good people who will do just that. Demonizing these immigrants does no good, and people spreading conspiracies about how they’re mostly “military age men” is just total right wing nonsense. Don’t we need young, strong, hard-working people here now anyway? Let’s not pretend that there aren’t certain Island business owners here whose business rely on affordable immigrant labor that Trump’s racist policies eliminated. This is a win for diversity and social justice all around.

  5. Rep. Dylan Fernandes should be applauded for his history of effort to rework zoning laws to encourage more housing creation for all types. MV is pure class to consider this, in the time of need for these folks. More affordable housing in MV would be greatly appreciated!

  6. MAYBE THESE MIGRANT FOLKS CAN BE GIVEN THE JOBS AMERICANS ARE REFUSING TO TAKE. WE WILL NEED WORKERS SOON AS BUSINESSES STRUGGLE TO HIRE. AMERICANS HAVE BECOME LAZY AND CRITICAL OF THE LESS FORTUNATE. OUR GREAT COUNTRY JUST GAVE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS TO EVERY AMERICAN CITIZEN. I THINK WE CAN AFFORD TO HELP THE LESS FORTUNATE AND GIVE THEM A LEG UP. THET DO NOT REQUIRE MUCH AND THEY DO NOT ACT ENTITLED.

    • Mickey… small problem with your solution. Individuals who illegally hire, recruit, or refer illegal aliens to work in the United States are in violation of Title 8 U.S.C § 1324. Individuals found to have employed undocumented aliens can face both criminal and civil penalties. They are now a burden on society since they can’t provide for themselves.

  7. Why can’t they stay on the island. There are some nice big homes out there and I’m sure the people who own them won’t mind putting them up until their immigration hearings in a couple of years.

    • Maybe the generous owners of these empty-standing homes can also find a corner for housing-challenged Islanders! I have long advocated that the solution to the housing crisis is standing there in plain sight before our eyes.

      Why do robbers rob banks? Because that’s where the money is! Similarly, housing advocates who constantly lament the lack of housing on the Island should look to where the housing is: large homes of the well-to-do standing empty most of the year. Even when the the “owners” are in residence, there should be plenty of extra room in the “McMansions for the Needy.”

      To be sure, I think it is only fair that housing-challenged Islanders and US citizens get to step to the front of the queue!

      • Robbers steal from banks because they feel entitled to money that is not theirs. Are you suggesting we take a page from them? We don’t talk about empty houses when discussing affordability because they’re not within the control of the public. It’s not as if an option has been overlooked. Those who want to rent out their seasonal homes when away already do so. Those who don’t… don’t. It’s their decision, like it or not. The lamenting you mention is not coming from said homeowners.

        I genuinely don’t understand how you expect advocates to change their minds. What do you suggest we do in order to achieve your goal?

        • Ms Scott is suggesting that those big homes be commandeered by the authorities in order to give others a chance for home equity whatever that is. The Soviet Union used to take homes away from grandmothers and ship them elsewhere in order to give party members better living conditions. The solution is staring you in the face.

      • I see what you’re saying and understand your sentiments. I would only say that a few rich/fortunate people owning a second home here isn’t what’s causing the housing crisis. They actually do participate in the community, many of them do rent their homes out seasonally, and at times have been very generous to our community. We have a lot to thank them for, actually. It’s the greedy wanna-be-rich people buying up homes and turning them into AirBnBs, charging people $1,000/night, packing them full of as many people as they can, overstraining our infrastructure, and then not being here to experience the chaos they’re creating for the rest of us who live here. Those people have no connection to this place, no regard for our community. They’re just here to make their money. Get rid of the short-term rentals and have a 1-month minimum rental policy for each of the island towns. I think sometimes rich people get more flack than they deserve.

  8. Some say this is a Gov. DeSantis stunt. They are right. Why should just Texans suffer when people flood across our southern border? People are encouraged to come because so many say the immigration system is broken. If it is broken, our leaders in Washington are denying it, or they would find a solution.

    • James– great idea.. If only any president in history had tried to fix the “border problem” this wouldn’t be happening.
      I have an idea- lets build a wall and have Mexico pay for it.

  9. Let’s fill planes with convicted felons from a Mass. prison and give them a one-way ticket to Florida and another to Texas. Tell them their freedom has been granted.

  10. This is tragic and hilarious on every level. Yea Ron we don’t have any illegal immigrants here😂.What a base pr move. No one wins in this situation. Sad.

  11. DeSantis didn’t do his research if he believes he’s introducing MV to immigration.

    Our varying opinions about the border shouldn’t matter. This is a clear case of people being treated as props for media attention. It’s a juvenile abuse of power that was thought up for personal gain. DeSantis is looking to win points with his base. He’s succeeded, I suppose, if a move so transparent can be categorized that way.

    Everyone should be concerned that fifty people were put on a plane without being informed of their true destination. As for those who keep calling this stunt brilliant, you might as well announce that you never progressed beyond the mindset of 13-year-olds. This was as ham-fisted as a comic book villain’s schemes. And only half as effective.

    • You nailed it at every turn. It was an ill conceived stunt that is met with approval by the dimwits among us.
      12 million dollars in another failed attempt to “own the libs”.

  12. To all you conservatives who’ll believe anything that fits your narrative, down here in Florida it is being made quite clear that Florida taxpayers are footing the $12 million bill for our Governor’s petulant little stunt, not Biden or FEMA. But you go on spreading that lie.

  13. This is indigenous ground. I assume only a few are blood, I assume only a few give thanks and I know we all belong, religion and government are the only things separating each other from ourselves, unstable and unfair for our future kin.

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