The migrants who crossed the southern border into the US and were later flown to Martha’s Vineyard in two planeloads were given false addresses that matched “random homeless shelters” for their official papers, according to a Boston immigration attorney.
Rachel Self suggested on Friday that this was deliberately done by Department of Homeland Security officials to make it more difficult for migrants to stay in the country.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) took credit for arranging and financing the flights, which landed Wednesday afternoon on the wealthy island community off the coast of Massachusetts. He wanted to make a point about the wave of migration along the border with Mexico, even though his state does not border the country.
The Miami Herald reported that Self is helping with the migrants’ affairs.
She told reporters that the group of 50 men, women and children — mostly from Venezuela — were treated by DHS agents before they left San Antonio.
Some migrants had specifically told DHS agents they had no mailing address in the United States, Self said.
They would have been instructed to notify the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – the wrong agency – as soon as they changed addresses.
“This is especially troubling because anyone with even the most basic understanding of immigration procedures knows that USCIS was not the agency with which the migrants should register their addresses,” Self said at a news conference.
Some migrants told NPR that a woman named Perla said they could expect work papers after flying to Massachusetts. But no one waited for them, and the group ended up walking about 2 miles to a community center to ask for help, according to Cape Cod Times, a local newspaper.
They were welcomed by islanders and given shelter, cell phones and other necessities, according to The Washington Post.
The group was voluntarily relocated Friday to a mainland military base better equipped to accommodate and feed people for weeks, Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker (R) said.