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Martha’s Vineyard: Why Dozens of Migrants Were Brought to Affluent US Vacation Island | SBS News

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Fifty migrants sent to the wealthy northeastern US island of Martha’s Vineyard as part of a political battle over immigration will be temporarily housed at a military base nearby, Massachusetts’ governor said Friday.
The migrants, mostly Venezuelans, including children, arrived on Wednesday in Martha’s Vineyard, a Democratic stronghold and popular retreat for the country’s political elite.

They were put on flights from Texas that Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he chartered.

Despite local mobilization to assist the new arrivals, the island “is not equipped to provide sustainable accommodation, and state officials have developed a comprehensive humanitarian response plan,” the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, said in a statement.
State officials on Friday offered to relocate the migrants on a voluntary basis to temporary housing at nearby Joint Base Cape Cod.

“Families will not be separated,” the statement said, noting that the base previously served as an emergency shelter and that migrants would have access to aid and legal services.

Volunteers helped deliver food to recently arrived migrants on Martha’s Vineyard. Source: Getty / The Boston Globe

According to local media, the migrants were on their way to the base by noon on Friday.

Some of them said they didn’t know they were being sent to the island.

“Human Trafficking”

Local Democrat politician Julian Cyr called for an investigation.
“Whether or not it meets the legal threshold of human trafficking, it meets the moral threshold of human trafficking,” he told local television, adding that he hoped the Justice Department would look into the incident.
Sending migrants to Democratic strongholds has become a political cudgel for the American right as a means of condemnation which they say has allowed undocumented migrants to cross the Mexican border in large numbers.

It’s also a way to try to put immigration at the center of the campaign ahead of the midterm elections in November.
On Thursday morning, two busloads of migrants arrived outside the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, a place chosen on purpose because she oversees the explosive immigration issue for the White House. They were sent by the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott.

On Friday, the White House again criticized the tactics of Republican governors against people who fled the socialist regime in Venezuela.

One man embraces another, while the third man looks at him

Martha’s Vineyard resident Jeff Whipple (center) was among those welcoming the migrants to the island. Source: Getty / The Washington Post

“These were children. They were moms. They were fleeing communism. And what did Governor DeSantis and Governor Abbott do with them? They are using them as political pawns, treating them like chattel in a brutal, premeditated political stunt,” the White House spokeswoman said. Karine Jean-Pierre.

“We see these tactics from smugglers in places like Mexico and Guatemala. And for what? A photo?”, she said.
But Mr. DeSantis hit back, mocking the fact that the migrants had been transferred from the wealthy island.

“By the way, they have already been taken out. They said: “We want everyone, no one is illegal.” And they were gone within 48 hours,” he said.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/political-pawns-why-dozens-of-migrants-were-flown-to-a-wealthy-holiday-island-in-the-us/w897w9sgc

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