BOURNE, MASS. (WHDH) - The group of migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday have arrived at Joint Base Cape Cod where they will receive better longer-term care.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced the move in a statement earlier this morning, activating the National Guard to help transport the group and assist the relief efforts.
“We are grateful to the providers, volunteers and local officials that stepped up on Martha’s Vineyard over the past few days to provide immediate services to these individuals,” said Baker. “Our Administration has been working across state government to develop a plan to ensure these individuals will have access to the services they need going forward, and Joint Base Cape Cod is well equipped to serve these needs.”
The migrants began their journey from Martha’s Vineyard to JBCC earlier this morning by boarding buses and a few cars headed to the Vineyard Haven Ferry. Some of the migrants were seen holding hands with the volunteers from the Parish Center just before boarding buses. Many of the migrants said they’ve been happy with the way they’ve been treated so far and are grateful to be on the island, but some said they felt that the process of getting them to Martha’s Vineyard involved political trickery.
The migrants then boarded larger buses on the ferry that would transport them to JBCC once they arrived on land. Many of the migrants enjoyed the ferry ride with some cheering, admiring the water and taking pictures and selfies. An immigration attorney said some of the migrants were skeptical, fearing this could be another trick promising them something that wasn’t delivered. The attorney said some were even afraid to board the buses for this trip and only got on the bus when she got on with them despite her living on Martha’s Vineyard.
JBCC, which is designated as an emergency shelter by Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, has dormitory conditions that allow the migrants to receive better care than the temporary care they’ve received since arriving on Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday afternoon. The facility has also housed and cared for displaced individuals including Louisiana residents fleeing the impact of Hurricane Katrina, as well as an alternative care medical site for Massachusetts residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
An immigration attorney said they will provide further care on a case-by-case basis.
The biggest problem the migrants now face is jobs and getting the authorization to work. Although the move to JBCC will give the migrants better living conditions, many said they wanted to come to the U.S. to get jobs to provide for their families back in Venezuela and Colombia respectively.
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