DeSantis’ Martha’s Vineyard Trips Escalate GOP Immigration Stunts

Dozens of immigrants to the United States, mostly from Venezuela, have been flown by private jet from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Who promised on Friday To send more people from states like Florida and Texas to protected cities and states.

Fifty people on two chartered planes arrived at Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy coastal enclave, on Wednesday after many reported. They are lured into the journey with promises of jobs and rental assistance. The immigrants thought they were going to Boston. Instead, they arrive at the end of the tourist season in a community that often hosts the rich and powerful – including politicians and presidents.

California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) Called for Justice Department investigation into DeSantis . planAnd the United States Attorney for Massachusetts Rachel Rollins She said at a press conference that her office is seeking the Ministry of Justice’s input on the matter. According to Rachel Self, an attorney who assists newly arrived immigrants, a representative of the Department of Justice is at the Cape Cod Joint Base, where the immigrants are housed; The Ministry of Justice declined to comment on the matter.

At a press conference held in Daytona Beach Friday, As reported by CNNDeSantis . defended his plan, to tell reporters that the analysts “were in Texas, and they identified people trying to come to Florida and then offered them free transportation to their jurisdictions. And so they went from Texas to Florida, to Martha’s Vineyard on the trip.” DeSantis also defended approaching immigrants in Texas and relocating them because he claimed that “40 percent of them say they want to go to Florida.” However, the $12 million program within the Florida Department of Transportation, which has been approved with bipartisan support by the state legislature, is supposed to be used to transport people Specifically from Florida Unlike immigrants who were in San Antonio, Texas before landing in Massachusetts.

CBS Florida Branch 8 have found Show records that on September 8, the Department of Transportation paid $615,000 to an Oregon aviation supplier operating in Destin, Florida, under “Grants and Aid – Resettlement Program for Unauthorized Aliens.” Fenske did not respond to Vox’s question via email about the cost of the flights.

DeSantis’ decision to charter flights is a high-profile addition to the stunt series that politicians love Texas Governor Greg Abbott (right) It has been withdrawn using the immigrant population since April. Abbott, using taxpayer money, and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (right) have sent more than 7,000 immigrants from Texas and Arizona to New York City and Washington, D.C. as of August, Reuters reported at the time.

Not to be outdone by Abbott himself on Thursday Buses carrying up to 100 people were sent to the Naval Observatory, the residence of Vice President Kamala Harris, apparently in retaliation for her claims on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the southern border is safe. “It’s a frontier czar,” said Abbott Lubbock, Texas radio station KFYO in an interview. And we felt that if she didn’t go down to see the frontier, if she was the boss [Joe] Biden won’t come down and see the limits, and we’ll make sure they see it for themselves. …and listen, there’s more to where that came from.”

Wednesday planes and Thursday buses are part of the pattern

The actions by DeSantis and Abbott this week are a very visible escalation in a pattern of Republican politicians moving large numbers of immigrants to Democratic-run cities and states known as protected jurisdictions — in general, places where undocumented immigrants would be protected from deportation if They don’t. committed a serious crime.

Immigration attorney Camille McClear told Vox that many immigrants are technically traveling of their own volition. “From what we hear, they chose to take the bus,” she said. “Whether they understand that they have other options is one of the questions we have been wondering. It depends on the individual as much as anything else, but they are not caught by law enforcement on the street and taken away.”

Fox Meet a busload of immigrants in Washington, D.C., earlier in September and spoke to volunteers helping them as they disembarked near the Capitol. According to a volunteer named Jessica, “We never know exactly how many people will come because they are allowed to disembark as soon as they leave Texas, so they can disembark at different places,” making coordination of supplies and hot meals for new arrivals. “The frustrating thing is that the design of this is that they are not going to tell us officially. And that is no accident. They are trying to create chaos here to prove a political point. So we get very little information fed to us, but not through official channels.”

In the case of DeSantis flights from Texas to Massachusetts, it is not clear whether people have been told the truth about where they are going and what to expect when they arrive. According to a report from Texas TribuneThis was confirmed elsewhere, as people arriving on Martha’s Vineyard this week were contacted by a woman who offered them a free flight to Boston, where they would be provided with jobs and rent assistance. The person gave the immigrant a file with a rough map of Martha’s Vineyard showing the location of the airport; A brochure with information about refugee services, and a piece of paper with her name on it, Elizabeth Folcarelli, President of Martha’s Vineyard Community Charity, For The Associated Press. Vox asked DeSantis’ press secretary, Taryn Fenske, if the person who approached immigrants in San Antonio worked in Florida, but Fenske deferred to statements previously sent by her office.

“These are individuals who are crossing the border into the deep, rural, and Texas deserts, left alone, to their own devices,” McClear said. “They are brought into these rest centers that the nonprofits set up, and they’re not places you can even sleep in – they just have the very basics.” In these kinds of circumstances, especially for people who arrive without connections to the United States, you “give them a choice to go somewhere.”

Fenske also did not respond to emailed questions about whether DeSantis’ office coordinated with anyone in Massachusetts or Martha’s Vineyard in particular to send the immigrants there. However, as attorney Rachel Self told Vox in an emailed statement Friday, “volunteers notified the church at 7 a.m. with coffee and breakfast to resume doing whatever they could to help,” and authorities coordinated transportation from the island to the Cape Cod Joint Base. Self told Vox that attorneys from Lawyers for Civil Rights in Boston and South Coast Legal Services and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute offer legal services to newcomers, and “all immigrants have been provided with WhatsApp phones so they can effectively communicate and stay in touch with their attorneys.”

What will happen to immigrants who are transferred to Massachusetts?

The immigrants, many of whom come from Venezuela and Colombia, according to McCler, but also from Cuba, Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean, and to a lesser extent from Africa and Afghanistan, make a punitive journey through South and Central America with precious few resources, with many fleeing specific threats to their lives or their safety. A man from Colombia, who gave his name as Carlos, told Vox that he and his family came to the United States because they were threatened by an armed group in their home country.

“There are a lot more people who are forcibly displaced – whether it’s because of the climate, or civil strife, or corruption, whatever the risks that may occur – these numbers globally have risen dramatically in the past 30 years or more,” Mackler said. . “So you have more people who are seeking protection through asylum laws, and that has created this backlog.”

Immigrants who apply for asylum are here legally, and Mackler told Vox that many of the people arriving now have specific, viable claims that can be upheld by immigration court. But according to the 1996 immigration laws that President Bill Clinton signed into law, people who apply for asylum cannot obtain a work permit until they prove they qualify for asylum.

With the immigration system backlogged as is, there is simply no way that newcomers can be far enough into the asylum process to obtain a work permit. So the jobs DeSantis and Abbott promised to lure immigrants away from border regions, if any at all, will be unofficial — under the table.

In an email to Vox, Self explained that many immigrants had connections elsewhere in the United States, where they would have preferred to travel “before being lured into planes under false pretenses.” However, Mackler said there have been some reports among people who work with immigrants who have recently arrived that there has been a slight increase in the number of people arriving without any connection to the United States.

This is the situation Self claimed that the Department of Homeland Security and the politicians who send immigrants away from their countries exploit. In a press conference captured by the Miami Herald on videoIn their papers, Self said, agents who treated immigrants listed the addresses of “spontaneous homeless shelters across the country” as their mailing address — even though the immigrants told the agents they had no US addresses.

“According to the papers they got, immigrants are required to check in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] The closest office to the fake address selected for them by the Department of Homeland Security or permanently removed from the United States, Self said, with some asking to check in as early as next Monday.” Some postal addresses were as far away as Washington and Florida.

“Because these individuals come here without an address, I guess, somehow — I don’t know how — CBP [Customs and Border Patrol] He took it upon himself to start looking up the addresses of the organizations and putting those addresses out there,” Mackler told Vox, recounting recent situations in New York City Organizations that “began to receive papers for people they had never heard of and who obviously did not have the ability to contact them, because their information was on the line of communication.”

In terms of what happens next for people in Joint Base Cape Cod, and others who have been bused or otherwise transported outside border states, they have a long, complicated and arduous road ahead of obtaining legal status and a work permit, housing and life in the United States. In her email to Vox, Self promised that “as soon as immigrants can receive legal advice and other services, those who wish to return to the island will of course be able to do so,” adding that a number of people on Martha’s Vineyard “have volunteered their homes to anyone.” needy”.

The question of the immigration system and the political stunts that put thousands of immigrants in this precarious position is equally puzzling. “We thought it was a mess years ago,” Mackler said. “It just keeps getting worse. It’s very hard to predict where it’s going because I never in my life thought we’d end up here.”

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