The 48 migrants flown to Martha’s Vineyard last week by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis have been given a safe haven at Joint Base Cape Cod, according to a press release from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
“On Friday, September 16, the Commonwealth offered the migrants a voluntary transition from Martha’s Vineyard facility to Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC),” the press release revealed. “State officials provided transportation to individuals and families from the island to a temporary shelter on JBCC, where a broad range of services have been established to support urgent needs.”
Included in those services are access to health care and crisis counseling, translators, food, clothing, and case managers to help with temporary housing and even education services for children, the press release said.
More than 100 National Guard members were activated in response, the press release also confirmed. The Massachusetts National Guard declined to comment.
Taryn Fenske, DeSantis’ communications director, said the flights were scheduled in an effort to “transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” but according to the victims and their representatives, they were lured to the area under false pretenses.
The migrants were allegedly promised that after being flown to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy vacation spot for many New York and Boston elite, they would be taken to Boston, Julio Henriquez, an attorney who met with several migrants, told the Associated Press.
“They had no idea of where they were going or where they were,” he said.
Henriquez said that after the migrants’ initial arrival at a city-run shelter in San Antonio, a woman approached them and moved them into a nearby La Quinta Inn, where she reportedly made daily food runs. She allegedly promised the migrants jobs and three months of housing in Washington, New York, Philadelphia and Boston.
Many of the migrants are asylum-seekers, having fled the authoritarian regime in Venezuela, and while asylum seekers in the U.S. have limited rights compared to full citizens, the U.S. Constitution does protect them from improper treatment by the government and from discrimination based on race or national origin.
In Texas, Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar opened an investigation into the incident on Sept. 19.
Requests for comment from the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency were not returned.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran and a master's candidate at New York University's Business & Economic Reporting program.