In what many consider a political stunt, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis had approximately 50 Venezuelan migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, from San Antonio, Texas, in what the governor said was a move to let other states start “sharing in the burdens” of undocumented immigration.
“We are not a sanctuary state, and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures,” DeSantis said on Thursday at a press conference.
While other Republicans like Texas Gov. Greg Abbott have also been sending migrants to Democrat-run cities like New York City and Washington D.C. for the last five months, DeSantis’ move was even more surprising since the migrants weren’t even being removed from his own state. Also, officials in Martha’s Vineyard said they were unaware of the governor’s plan. NPR reported that some migrants were told the flights would take them to Boston to get their immigration paperwork expedited.
Since the migrants landed in the affluent vacation spot in Massachusetts on Wednesday (September 14), officials have opened an emergency shelter and are supplying them with food and medical care. State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha’s Vineyard, called DeSantis’ actions “incredibly inhumane and depraved.” Other critics called what DeSantis and Abbott have done a federal crime.
Along with the flights DeSantis chartered to Martha’s Vineyard, Abbott sent more migrants by bus Thursday to Washington D.C. This time, he had the men, women, and children dropped off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence.