Local news sources claim that the arrival of two planeloads of migrants sent by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has caused pandemonium in the affluent liberal community of Martha’s Vineyard.
On Thursday, the famous Massachusetts island received some 50 immigrants, creating what the local tourism board dubbed a “humanitarian crisis.”
“This is an ongoing situation,” wrote a county emergency-management rep in a statement, noting that local authorities “are actively collaborating to develop a coordinated regional response.
“We have reached out to our State and Federal partners for additional and long term support and assistance.”
Politicians in the area learned about the newcomers at a West Tisbury Select Board meeting on Wednesday night, when Town Administrator Jennifer Rand claimed to have received “furious messages” from locals, according to the MV Times.
“I’m a little unclear about the situation, as is everybody, because everybody is scrambling a bit,” Rand said.
Rand claimed that the refugees were making their way to St. Andrews Church in Edgartown and might be provided with temporary shelter at the “Ag Hall” of the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society.
She added that feeding the refugees may also be challenging because the Martha’s Vineyard Red Cross was “not cooperating” in the official response, so it wouldn’t last long since there were no beds or baths.
Total chaos at Martha’s Vineyards
The Red Cross said it has ” been in contact with local emergency management, and while we have not yet been asked to provide any local support, we stand ready to do that.” in a prepared statement on Thursday.
The Martha’s Vineyard homeless shelter coordinator, Lisa Belcastro, described the temporary lodging for migrants as a “stop-gap.” She mentioned that ultimately they would have to be relocated.
According to Belcastro, they eventually need to relocate from this place to somewhere else. “We cannot, we do not, have the services to take care of 50 immigrants.”
She noted the island is already tight on housing. “We’re in a housing crisis as we are on this island,” Belcastro said. “So we don’t, we can’t, house everyone here that lives here and works here.”
According to Beth Folcarelli, CEO of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, the migrants “came with folders with a pamphlet with our information,” she told the Vineyard Gazette.
“We don’t have refugee services, I had no idea about any of this,” she said. “I only found out because one of them gave me their folder.”