Undocumented Immigrants Flown to Martha's Vineyard, Shelters Being Set Up

Emergency management officials on Martha's Vineyard say they are dealing with a humanitarian situation after planes filled with undocumented immigrants were flown to the Massachusetts island from Florida

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At least two planes filled with undocumented immigrants were sent to Martha's Vineyard Wednesday, and the Massachusetts island was preparing emergency shelters to deal with the influx of people, calling it a humanitarian situation.

Two planes came from Florida, a representative for Gov. Ron DeSantis confirmed to NBC10 Boston. Massachusetts officials had said planes came from Texas, a state that's had a policy of sending undocumented immigrants elsewhere in the U.S., but it wasn't clear if any planes had come in from Texas.

Emergency shelters would be open Wednesday night on Martha's Vineyard "due to an unexpected urgent #humanitarian situation," county officials said.

Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who met with the immigrants at Edgartown Church, said dozens of beds have been supplied by local social services along with meals, medical care and a play area for children at a shelter.

"We put together 50 beds, blew up air mattresses, and when they came, they were hungry and thirsty, understandably," he said.

Massachusetts lawmakers condemned the move, calling it a political stunt.

"There was no advance notice of these migrant families arriving," said State Sen. Julian Cyr, who represents the Cape and Islands.

"Some of these people, I've been told, traveled months just to get to the border and then were sent here in an airplane with very little information about where they're going or why they were going there," said Fernandes, whose district also includes Martha's Vineyard.

The state lawmakers say two chartered planes landed on the island at around 3 p.m.

"It's manipulating people who are in very dire circumstances for political gain," said Cyr.

Gov. Charlie Baker's office said it is supporting officials on the island after learning of the situation.

"The Baker-Polito Administration is in touch with local officials regarding the arrival of migrants in Martha's Vineyard," Baker representative Terry MacCormack said in a statement. "At this time, short-term shelter services are being provided by local officials, and the Administration will continue to support those efforts."

Confirming that Florida had flown immigrants to Massachusetts, DeSantis representative Taryn Fenske said it was "part of the state's relocation program to transport [undocumented immigrants] to sanctuary destinations," referring to municipalities that keep local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials working to deport undocumented immigrants.

Yes We Can World Foundation provides bilingual education to kids awaiting asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. LX News contributor Moon Mandel brings you inside a converted 55-passenger bus where classes are held, and students can receive clothing, food and assistance in the immigration process.

Fenske said Massachusetts and other such states "will better facilitate the care of these individuals," claiming the immigrants were "invited into our country" through political positions, including "the Biden Administration's open border policies."

Early reports from state lawmakers in Massachusetts indicated the undocumented immigrants arrived in Martha's Vineyard from Texas, though it wasn't immediately clear if any planes had arrived from there.

Fernandes said in a tweet that "many of the immigrants being dropped off on chartered flights "don't know where they are. They say they were told they would be given housing and jobs."

He added that, "Islanders [were] given no notice but are coming together as a community to support them."

Cyr also said on Twitter that flights were arriving from Texas, and that people on the island were "working hard to provide food + shelter."

"We're going to respond and we're going to support these families and provide some humanity," he vowed Wednesday night.

NBC10 Boston is reaching out to the office of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

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