On Sunday, migrants were flown from Florida to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – using taxpayer dollars.
The roughly 50 migrants on board arrived last week, surprising many residents who were not expecting their arrival yet welcoming all the least.
As of Friday, migrants were taken to a military base to receive shelter and humanitarian assistance.
The move by Republicans has been criticized as a political stunt in an effort to refute the Biden Administration’s immigration policies.
US Attorney for the State of Massachusetts Rachael Rollins and the state’s attorney general are investigating the scheme with help from members of the Department of Justice to determine whether DeSantis sending migrants to Massachusetts was legal.
Migrants: relocated and lied to
According to officials, migrants were given misleading brochures as to where they were going, promising cash assistance, job placement services, and more.
The Boston-headquartered Lawyers for Civil Rights, who is already representing 30 migrants who were involved in the relocation, shared pictures of the brochure on Twitter. Migrants reportedly received the brochures sometime during their relocation between Texas and Florida.
We're sharing the so-called “brochure” the Vineyard migrants received at some point during their expulsion and relocation from Texas & Florida. The so-called “brochure” is available here — along with our request for a federal & MA criminal investigation: https://t.co/oc3xf5gSk9
— Lawyers for Civil Rights (@LCRBOSTON) September 19, 2022
It is unclear whether the Florida migrants were the intended target group — DeSantis’s office had previously confirmed the plane was supposed to relocate 50 migrants from Texas, not Florida.
Immigration attorney Matt Cameron told Business Insider that the benefits in the fake brochure were resettlement benefits for migrants who were referred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to relocate to America.
However, these benefits will not qualify for migrants in the state of Massachusetts. Benefits for migrants in the state of Massachusetts include up to eight months of cash assistance, job retention and upgrade services, and assistance with housing, food and clothing.
Migrants were also misled about where the plane was going. Initially, they thought the plan would be taking them to Boston, the capital of Massachusetts; yet mid-air residents discovered the plane was heading for Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts — an island located in the Atlantic Ocean seven miles from the coast of Cape Cod.
Contrary to other reports, DeSantis claims migrants were transported voluntarily and had known where they were going because they had been given a map of Martha’s Vineyard and signed a waiver.
Texas sends migrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’s house
About 50 migrants, including a one-year-old baby, were sent from Texas by Texas governor Greg Abbott to the Washington D.C. residence of Kamala Harris.
According to reports, the majority of migrants were Venezuelan traveling by bus and were let off at Harris’s home on Saturday morning.
Abbott had also sent three buses of migrants to New York City which arrived Saturday as well as two buses to Harris’s house on Thursday.
The buses to Harris’s house contained roughly 100 persons from Colombia, Cuba, Guyana, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela.
Democrats, immigration advocates and lawyers alike have called for an investigation into the transfer — which they speculate could face potential trafficking offenses.
“They are playing games. These are political stunts with real human beings,” Kamala Harris told Vice News in an interview on Friday.
The relocation: Is it a political stunt?
The scheme to move migrants was reportedly part of a political stunt by Republicans who are frustrated with the federal government’s southern border control security.
Senior Biden Administration officials report US authorities made more than two million immigration arrests along the southern border in the past 11 months — the highest recorded number of arrests in an 11 month period.
The excessive wave of arrests comes as migration efforts reach all-time highs. According to Customs and Border Control, this year one-third of migrants came from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba — a 175% increase from August 2021.
The latest influx of migrants has caused overwhelming numbers of new residents in the state.
According to the Texas Department of Public Safety Chris Olivarez, “Here at the southern border, we’ve been seeing 7,000 to 8,000 immigrants coming across every single day, and that’s overwhelming the limited resources of these smaller border communities such as Eagle Pass and Del Rio.”
Abbott, who had just sent several buses of migrants from Texas to both New York City and Washington D.C., states the high numbers of migrants in the state are hurting local communities.
“The Biden-Harris administration continues ignoring and denying the historic crisis at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years,” said Abbot.
Biden & "Border Czar" Harris refuse to acknowledge the consequences of their open border policies.
Texas is bringing the border to their backyard to relieve our overwhelmed communities.
It’s past time to fix this crisis they created. pic.twitter.com/ePpHzBlZhU
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) September 17, 2022
DeSantis has talked about redirecting migrants from the southern border and liberal states for quite some time now. On Friday, he stated the latest relocation is just the beginning.
Last week, the DeSantis administration paid an aviation service $615,000 to transport 48 migrants from San Antonio to Massachusetts. Likewise, in spring, Florida legislature approved $12 million to fund migration efforts from Florida to other states.
Many, however, see the move by Abbott and DeSantis as inhumane.
Democrats have denounced the move made by the two governors, with White House Secretary Karine Jean Pierre accusing them of using migrants as “political pawns.”
A spokesperson for the Massachusetts Attorney General has already stated they are in touch with federal and state partners and working on gathering evidence to determine whether the act was lawful or not.
Conversations over what to do with migrants coming into the United States have been debated between both Democratic and Republican parties for quite some time now as southern border states have complained about the overwhelming numbers of migrants in their communities for years.
The latest move by Texas and Florida governors isn’t a new issue — their relocation efforts have been on the agenda for quite some time now. Yet once finally executed, political infighting and questions on migration have become rampant — perhaps putting America in more turmoil than before.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Migrants in Hungary near the Serbian border on August 15, 2015. Source: Gémes Sándor/SzomSzed, Wikimedia.