Scenes from Martha’s Vineyard, where attorneys and volunteers assist refugees dispatched by the governor of Florida

On Thursday, a number of young Venezuelans congregated outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Edgartown to raise money and supplies and to express their support. They also played soccer, smoked cigarettes, and talked with hundreds of islanders from Martha’s Vineyard.

They said that 50 or so Venezuelans were brought to the island by plane from Texas under false pretenses. The immigrants were flown to Massachusetts, which Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed as his own. DeSantis, a potential presidential contender, organized state funds and delivered them to a liberal community where Barack Obama spends his holidays.

One of them claimed to have had to abandon his engineering studies in order to leave his nation with his two brothers. He was a young college student. He declined to give his identity out of concern for being deported.

A young migrant couple embraces on the porch of St. Andrews Parish House in Edgartown. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

He explained in Spanish, “We left Venezuela because we felt intimidated. We were threatened by criminals, but we were also threatened by the government.

Many of the immigrants claimed to be unaware of their involvement in what was being called a political game. After a risky three-month trek on foot through Central America and Mexico, they claimed to have arrived in the United States via land from Venezuela.

They were released in San Antonio, Texas after requesting asylum, where they claimed a woman who went by the name Perla promised to assist them.

Ivan Espinoza and Mirian Albert, of Lawyers for Civil Rights, arrives at St. Andrews Parish House in Edgartown to assist the migrants with any legal counsel. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The student spoke in Spanish and added, “She informed us, anybody wants to come: were going to give you a free aircraft journey, and bring you to a sanctuary district.”

He said, “She used us.” She promised that we would have a place to live, money, food, and even English lessons.

Many of the Venezuelans claimed that even if Perla didn’t present ID, she was still able to persuade them to join her. They boarded airplanes in Texas and arrived on Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday afternoon without anyone to meet them.

The student claimed that they began to feel like zoo or circus animals at that point.
Everyone is photographing and interviewing us, he claimed. That was not what we anticipated,

Migrants from Venezuela, sent to Marthas Vineyard by way of Texas and Florida, stand and talk to one another at St. Andrews Parish House in Edgartown. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Local authorities claimed they had no prior knowledge of the Venezuelans’ arrival. However, the locals rallied around them, and many of the Venezuelans claimed they had experienced a warm welcome from Martha’s Vineyard residents.

Another immigrant who asked to remain anonymous out of fear of being deported said she was staying at the church with eight family members.

“We were anxious when we first arrived, but now that everyone has helped us so much, we’re at ease, she continued. Here, I’m totally at ease.”

Tim Wolff of Edgartown was among the crowd of Vineyard locals who showed up to support the refugees and expressed his inspiration by the way the situation brought the community together.

Longtime Marthas Vineyard resident Jeff Whipple embraces one of the migrants from Venezuela outside of St. Andrews Parish House in Edgartown. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Wolff said, “We’re damn fortunate to live on this island. “People here show such a wonderful sense of community by helping complete strangers. And this is an authentic example of how the United States of America ought to be.”

However, the immigrants’ first priority is to report to federal officials, so there is only so much assistance that these locals can provide.

They claimed to have scheduled meetings with asylum officials around the nation, including in Florida, Washington, D.C., and California, but they were unsure how they would be able to keep the meetings. They assert that they did not have legal aid in Texas, but they do now.

A migrant dribbles with a soccer ball on Winter Street out in front of St. Andrews Parish House in Edgartown. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

According to Ivan Espinoza of the group Lawyers for Civil Rights, immigrants are receiving legal assistance from attorneys on Martha’s Vineyard, including evaluations of the types of remedy that each of them may be eligible for.

Espinoza continued, “But the fact that they were smuggled here obviously adds additional ramifications, either civil or criminal, that we are currently examining.”
Espinoza stated that attorneys will make every effort to assist the Venezuelans in keeping their scheduled meetings with immigration officials.

(Jesse Costa/WBUR)

More Stories From Dailymailpost

Popular on

Subscribe to Updates
Get the latest creative news from FooBar about art, design and business.