Martha’s Vineyard Welcomes Planes of Migrant Families Sent ‘Like Cargo’ by DeSantis: ‘We’re Going to Take Care of You’ – Rights History
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Martha’s Vineyard Welcomes Planes of Migrant Families Sent ‘Like Cargo’ by DeSantis: ‘We’re Going to Take Care of You’

Florida’s far-right wing GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, locked in a tight re-election race with Democratic Congressman and former Governor Charlie Crist, sent two planes filled with migrants from Venezuela, including children, to the tiny resort island of Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday, without notifying local authorities.

Residents, elected officials, and law enforcement welcomed their unexpected guests with open arms, providing them food, water, and shelter and the promise of care and support.

“We’re going to take care of you,” Sheriff Robert Ogden told the immigrants, The Martha’s Vineyard Times reports. “The most important thing is we get you food and shelter and water.”

“Later, the group was taken by school bus to St. Andrews Church where they will get a dinner of pizza from Edgartown Pizza and spend the night. A short time later folks from Mocha Motts arrived on the scene and provided coffee,” The Times adds.

“We’ve always been an Island of immigrants,” Democratic state Rep. Dylan Fernandes said. “We saw how incredible it is; how the Island rallied to support everyone. We’re stronger because of immigrants. America is stronger because of immigrants, and we’re going to welcome them with open arms.”

It’s unclear how the immigrants get to the island. Some reportedly say they came through Texas, but DeSantis was quick to take “credit” for what at least one legal expert wondered was legal.

“How on earth is this legal and not kidnapping?” asked former longtime DOJ official Andrew Weissmann.

Local officials were not without response to DeSantis’ “unchristian” act.

“This is deeply disgusting. This is a cruel ruse that manipulates families that are seeking a better life,” Democratic State Sen. Julian Cyr said, noting the “fundamentally racist tactics” have been used before.

The Times reports that during the Civil Rights movement, “segregationists tricked 95 Black families into moving to Hyannis. ‘And what happened is people in Hyannis helped the families and they stayed on Cape Cod,’ Cyr said.”

U.S. Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) blasted DeSantis.

“History does not look kindly on leaders who treat human beings like cargo, loading them up and sending them a thousand miles away without telling them their destination,” Keating said. “Still, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis made that choice today. Instead of working to find assistance for a group of refugees, he chose to turn them into political pawns.”

“Instead of trying to help them, he chose to charter a private jet and send them to a rural Island community late in the day and without warning so they wouldn’t have the resources at the ready to support them. But the people of Martha’s Vineyard, its vibrant immigrant community, and the Commonwealth as a whole are already calling Governor DeSantis’s bluff and rising to meet the challenge because that’s what Americans do — we help those in need,” Keating added. “I applaud Governor Baker for his administration’s efforts to step up and assist these refugees despite the lack of notice of their impending arrival, and I am disgusted by Governor DeSantis’s decision to prioritize cruelty and chaos over human dignity in today’s taxpayer-funded stunt.”

State Democratic Rep. Fernandes was not without criticism as well, and on social media he did not mince words.

“Republicans who call themselves Christians have been plotting for some time to use human lives – men, women, and children – as a political pawns. It is evil and inhumane.” he tweeted.

“These governors or whoever it is, all they care about is scoring some political points on Tucker Carlson and Fox News and the fact that they are using human lives — women, children, men — as pawns in that and just really abusing these people dropping them off in a place where they don’t know where they are with no food and water just to be able to get in Tucker Carlson and Fox News’s good graces is disgusting,” Rep. Fernandes told The Times. “It’s inhumane. These people claim to be Christians? This is about as unChristian a thing as you could be doing. It’s evil.”

 

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