After dozens of immigrants arrived at Martha’s Vineyard near Cape Cod, some described feelings of uncertainty after a grueling trip to America and part of the national spectacle.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took credit for leading the group of about 50 to the Liberal enclave, part of an escalating battle between Republican governors and the White House over immigration.
Carlos Munos said he traveled through Venezuela to give his four-year-old son everything he didn’t have – a meaningful education, the freedom to express his opinion without fear of persecution, a job where he could afford food. Can earn enough money to cover expenses.
Munos, who was studying electrical engineering before Venezuela’s economic collapse, stopped his studies, said he wanted to go back to school and dreams that his son will someday go to college.
“I want peace,” he said. “peace.”
Munos is among a group of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, who unexpectedly arrive at Martha’s Vineyard after DeSantis hired two flights. It is the latest in a series of moves by GOP governors aimed at surprising Democratic strongholds with large numbers of migrants.
As DeSantis vowed to continue with the program on Friday, it sparked a storm of criticism from opponents, including President Joe Biden, who accused DeSantis of “playing politics with humans, using them as props.” charged to.
Follow the flight:Florida Gov. DeSantis flies 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard
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Everlides della Hose, a mother and grandmother, recalled a grueling trip to America during which she saw people in her group of travelers die of heart attacks, drownings, and snakebites.
After finding themselves in Martha’s Vineyard, many expressed a sense of uncertainty as they wondered what might happen next for them. Others, promising jobs and housing, lied.
“When we got on the plane, they told us that they would give us jobs, places to live, everything,” said Della Hoze through a translator. “The whole group is very upset. But they took us to a good place.”
“I just feel misguided because they lied and it turned out to be nothing,” Pedro Luis Torrelaba, 36, said on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration said it has “increasing resources” for El Paso, Texas’ sixth-largest city, where homeless shelters are overwhelmed and migrants are sleeping on the streets with nowhere to go.
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Here’s what we know:
The migrants flying to Martha’s Vineyard speak out
Advocates and immigration lawyers said the migrants were falsely told that housing and accommodation would be waiting for them when they arrived at Martha’s Vineyard.
Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens, a Washington-based civil rights group, said the migrants were given red folders with fake documents promising jobs and housing.
“It was all just a horrible lie,” Garcia said, adding that he plans to file a complaint with the Justice Department.
Opinon: DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard Stunt Brutally Uses Migrants As Human Pawns, Helps No One
According to immigration attorney Rachel Self, who lives at Martha’s Vineyard, many migrants arrived on the island with mandatory court dates and appointments with ICE in Texas, Washington and D.C., some as early as Monday. Self said the migrants were set up to fail.
“It may not be clear that this is an attempt to ensure that these people are ordered to be removed, even though they try as much as possible to follow the instructions given to them,” Self said.
US officials told immigration lawyers that essential check-ins would be postponed, said Julio Henriquez, a lawyer who met with several migrants. Homeland Security officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
‘This is criminal’:Migrants were promised jobs, free housing before being taken to Martha’s Vineyard
Officials scramble to aid migrants, provide aid at military base
Residents and state officials scrambled to provide housing, food and support for migrants who arrived on the Massachusetts island on Wednesday.
Elizabeth Folkerelli, who leads Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, said she was finishing work when she saw 48 strangers outside her office with luggage and backpacks.
As officials figured out the next steps for the migrants, they were given shelter at Joint Base Cape Cod, where hostel-style accommodation, clothing, toilet kits and food would be provided. Legal and health care services will also be provided, including mental health and crisis counseling support.
Governor Charlie Baker said he would activate 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to assist.
Politics:Could Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Migrant Strategy With Major Voting Bloc Reverse Politically?
What is happening in Venezuela?
Venezuela’s diaspora is among a global diaspora of millions who have left the country to escape power outages, a lack of access to reliable water, a depressed economy and a dictatorial regime amid skyrocketing inflation and political turmoil.
The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates that there are now more than six million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide, of whom more than 950,000 are asylum seekers. According to the US State Department website, most go to Colombia, but tens of thousands have made their way to the US and other countries.
Why Martha’s Vineyard?
South of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard is an 87-square-mile island accessible only by plane or ferry. It also has a reputation as an eclectic enclave.
As President Joe Biden denounced the decision to move migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, DeSantis said, “It’s only when you have 50 illegal aliens that end up in a very rich, prosperous enclave that (Biden) decides to scramble over it.”
Reverse Freedom Riders:Cape Cod migrant crisis brings back 60-year-old memories of a similar move
Has this happened before?
Since April, Texas has sent nearly 8,000 migrants to Washington, including more than 100 on Thursday to the home of Vice President Kamala Harris. The state has also moved about 2,200 migrants to New York and 300 to Chicago.
Arizona has sent more than 1,500 migrants to Washington since May.
Contributions: George Petras, Stephen J. Beard, Jennifer Borreson, Janet Hinkle, Heather McCarron, Sarah Carlon, Janet Hinkle and Selina Tebor, USA Today Network; The Associated Press
Contact News Now reporter Christine Fernando at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @christinetfern,