[guest post by Dana]
Lawmakers in Massachusetts were tasked with caring for dozens of migrants Wednesday after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent two planes full of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a ritzy island located in Dukes County.
On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers voiced their criticism online after they were forced to act swiftly to provide shelter, food, blankets and other necessities to the 50 migrants who now reside in their state.
From the Florida governor’s office:
“Florida can confirm the two planes with illegal immigrants that arrived in Martha’s Vineyard [Wednesday] were part of the state’s relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations. States like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as ‘sanctuary states’ and support for the Biden administration’s open border policies.”
The news broke Wednesday night as Fox News and Martha’s Vineyard news organizations reported the surprise charter flights that dumped at least 50 migrants on the popular island vacation spot for the well-heeled. Martha’s Vineyard is an island south of Cape Cod, popular for summer vacations for rich elites and accessible only by plane or ferry. The exact route of the flights remain unclear on Thursday, although one Massachusetts Democratic lawmaker told reporters one flight left from San Antonio. The website Flightaware shows one flight originated in San Antonio, stopped in Crestview, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, before landing in Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday afternoon.
The flights were billed as part of a new program to “remove” illegal immigrants from Florida, one created by lawmakers supporting DeSantis’ hard-line stance on immigration. DeSantis…has claimed the program is necessary to fight back against the “Biden border crisis.”
DeSantis pushed back against criticism for his decision:
“We take what’s happening at the southern border very seriously, unlike some, and unlike the president of the United States,” DeSantis said. “You’ve had millions and millions of people pouring across illegally, record amount of fentanyl coming into our country.”
He said many migrants want to end up in Florida because “everyone wants to come to Florida.”
“We’ve worked on innovative ways to protect the state of Florida from the impact of Biden’s border policies,” he said.
DeSantis said that all states should share the burden of settling migrants and that it shouldn’t fall to “a handful of red states.”
“If you have folks who are inclined to think Florida is a good place, our message to them is we are not a sanctuary state, it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction,” he said. “We will help facilitate that transport for you, so you can go to greener pastures.”
Reports say that Gov. DeSantis has $12 million in Florida’s budget approved by the state legislature to relocate illegal immigrants from his state.
Also, the 50 migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard were from Venezuela and Colombia. From all accounts, the residents of Martha’s Vineyard have risen to the occasion, and are providing food, shelter, and relief to the migrants. It remains to be seen for how long.