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Dozens of migrants arrive unannounced on Martha’s Vineyard, prompting humanitarian response – Boston News, Weather, Sports


WEST TISBURY, MASS. (WHDH) – Community members have been rushing to accommodate and treat dozens of migrants who arrived on Martha’s Vineyard with little notice on Wednesday.

State Senator Julian Cyr, D-Truro, said on social media that the migrants arrived on the island Wednesday afternoon via chartered flights, sparking a humanitarian response as locals worked to provide food and shelter.

7NEWS sources said island officials were given about 20 minutes notice before the planes arrived sometime after 3 p.m.

Families including small children were among the arrivals, with many not knowing where they were, according to state Representative Dylan Fernandes, D-Falmouth, who said on social media that some of the 50 migrants were told they would find housing and work where they were going.

“Currently immigrants are being dropped off on Martha’s Vineyard by chartered flights from Texas,” Fernandes said on Twitter. “Many don’t know where they are. They say they were told they would be given housing and jobs. Islanders we’re given no notice but are coming together as a community to support them.”

Both lawmakers said the charter flights may have originated from Texas, though a statement obtained by 7NEWS from the office of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R), claimed the two planes that arrived on Martha’s Vineyard were part of the state’s “relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.”

A pastor for a church that is providing support to the migrants spoke with 7NEWS on the situation. He said that he had learned many of the migrants appeared to be from Venezuela and possibly Colombia, while adding that the office of Gov. Charlie Baker was also assisting the island’s response.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is in touch with local officials regarding the arrival of migrants in Martha’s Vineyard,” Governor’s Office Press Secretary Terry MacCormack said in a statement to 7NEWS. “At this time, short-term shelter services are being provided by local officials, and the Administration will continue to support those efforts.” 

The Dukes County Emergency Management Association said it is also part of the humanitarian response, putting out a call for volunteers on social media Wednesday night.

This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.

(Copyright (c) 2022 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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