The migrants lasted less than two days on the affluent island of Martha’s Vineyard
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker activated the National Guard to deal with 50 illegal immigrants flown into the “sanctuary” of Martha’s Vineyard by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The migrants were removed from the island and sent to a military base.
DeSantis sent two planeloads of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday, in a bid to draw attention to President Joe Biden’s apparent failure to secure the US’ border with Mexico, and to protest his administration’s practice of shipping large groups of migrants from the border to towns and cities across the US, often without the permission of state authorities.
The new arrivals lasted less than two days on the affluent island. After declaring the situation a “humanitarian crisis,” Governor Baker called up 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard on Friday and loaded the immigrants onto buses, bound for Joint Base Cape Cod.
HAPPENING NOW: Migrants, flown into Martha’s Vineyard by Fl’s governor, are boarding buses. They’ll be heading to Joint Base Cape Cod, according to officials. 125 Mass National Guard members are being activated to assist. @NBCNews pic.twitter.com/RLwxNPu8GM
— Emilie Ikeda (@EmilieIkedaNBC) September 16, 2022
Baker said that the migrants, who mostly hail from Venezuela, will be given “temporary shelter and humanitarian services” at the base.
Martha’s Vineyard is a popular summer retreat for America’s elite. Sitting in the Atlantic just south of Cape Cod, it is around 90% white, and its residents overwhelmingly voted for Biden in 2020. The median home value on Martha’s Vineyard is just under $800,000, and former President Barack Obama owns a $12 million mansion on the island.
While Martha’s Vineyard did not declare itself a ‘sanctuary’ jurisdiction – as some US cities and municipalities did during the Trump administration to signify that they would not enforce federal immigration laws – Massachusetts is a de-facto sanctuary state, and signs dotted around the island proclaim that authorities there “stand with immigrants [and] refugees.”
Once the two planeloads of immigrants arrived, however, Baker declared that “the island communities are not equipped to provide sustainable accommodation,” and locals told reporters that “they have to move somewhere else.”
Republicans countered that 50 migrants represent just a fraction of the tens of thousands who enter border communities every month. “We are not a sanctuary state,” DeSantis declared on Thursday, adding that Florida would “gladly facilitate the transport of illegal immigrants to sanctuary jurisdictions.”
“Republicans are playing politics with human beings,” Biden said on Thursday, claiming that there is “a process in place to manage migrants at the border.”