Some of the migrants who were flown to Martha’s Vineyard for political reasons by governors from red states claimed they were duped by a woman who approached them outside a shelter in San Antonio and offered to pay them to board an airplane without telling them where it was going.
In a highly controversial decision, the governors of Florida and Texas sent 50 illegal immigrants to Massachusetts, where they arrived on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday. The Florida governor claims that his administration chartered and paid for two planes that made a stop in Florida en route to the east coast and that the migrants from Colombia and Venezuela boarded in San Antonio.
Reuters reports that several of the migrants that a woman going by the name of “Perla” approached them, gave them $200, and assisted in getting them a hotel room the night before she led them to the chartered planes by promising them a better life.
The woman also demanded that they sign a liability agreement, according to Luis, a Venezuelan immigrant who was approached by her after arriving in San Antonio. She refused to give her last name.
“We are scared,” Luis told Reuters, adding that the group felt like they were conned. “I hope they give us help.”
Others who spoke with Reuters said they were not told where they were going but were promised employment and assistance with settling in once they arrived.
Public funding of $12 million has been diverted to Florida to organize the migrant flights.
The excursions were associated with Florida’s “relocation program to transfer illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” according to a spokesperson for DeSantis on Thursday. Abbott has promoted a similar scheme since April, busing migrants from Texas to blue states.
Following a determination that there were insufficient resources on the island, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced on Friday that the migrants would be transferred to the Joint Base Cape Cod military installation.
“The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is coordinating efforts among state and local officials to ensure access to food, shelter, and essential services for these men, women and children,” the statement said. “Governor Charlie Baker also plans to activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard as part of this relief effort.”