This is how the community of Martha’s Vineyard responded to the arrival of immigrants

(CNN) — In the hours following roughly 50 migrants landed on Martha’s Vineyard in two planes dispatched by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, the island community, still reeling from the unexpected arrival, scrambled to help the new arrivals.

“We got food, we got clothing, we got … different things, so much so that we had to move that donation drop-off location to the fire department,” Edgartown, Massachusetts, city manager James Hagerty told CNN on Wednesday.

Martha’s Vineyard students help deliver food to St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

City officials even had to post on social media that they didn’t need any more donations, Hagerty added, as items continued to pour in.

“I think it’s a testament to the island community and it’s a testament to the citizens of Edgartown, it’s a testament to everything that’s going on right now,” he said.

“We’ve been through Covid, we’ve been through hurricanes, we’ve been through this, we’ve been through a lot of things imaginable for a small community and out of every one of them we’ve risen up as a Vineyard, because we’re resilient,” Hagerty said. “We take care of our own, we take care of the community, we help people.”

Migrants sent to Martha’s Vineyard didn’t know they’d get there 4:33

The city is no stranger to large influxes of population. Located off the coast of Massachusetts, the island of Martha’s Vineyard, home to Edgartown and several other townships, is known as an elegant summer destination for wealthy vacationers.

While the city’s winter population is a couple hundred people, it swells to several thousand during the warmer months when they welcome summer tourists, Hagerty said.

An estimated year-round island population of around 20,000 can swell to over 100,000 during peak tourist season.

But the challenge with the arrival of migrants this week was that it was not expected, the town manager said, and that it all happened “at the last moment.”

Volunteers help serve food to newly arrived immigrants.

In addition to donations, towns on the island, as well as nonprofit and community groups, are helping in the effort to care for the migrants and offer them shelter, food and care, according to a Facebook post from the Dukes County government.

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“We are grateful to the many members of the local and neighboring community who have reached out with offers of support,” county officials wrote in the post.

Now, Hagerty said, the biggest help city officials need is financial: Immigrants have a variety of needs, including relocating to a different city in the US and getting transportation to get there.

“We’re trying to handle it the best we can,” Hagerty said. “The needs are diverse and financial support would facilitate many of those diversities.”

Venezuelan immigrant recounts how he was taken to Martha’s Vineyard 1:07

The arrival is the latest move in a series of actions by Republican governors to transport migrants to liberal northern cities and states to protest the Biden administration’s policies on the southern border.

Also this week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said he sent two buses of immigrants to Vice President Kamala Harris’s residence in the nation’s capital, and Thursday’s arrival caught unsuspecting volunteers. Democratic leaders denounced the moves, with the White House press secretary calling the actions “cruel and premeditated political shenanigans.”

CNN’s Nicki Brown contributed to this report.

1 thought on “This is how the community of Martha’s Vineyard responded to the arrival of immigrants”

  1. Well that’s fabulous. Too bad we didn’t see the same response with American citizens dying in the streets in freezing and hot temperatures. Imagine of someone in the media actually cared about Americans in need. Americans living in filth in San Francisco to New York City and then showed the bill our government pays for illegal immigrants who broke our laws getting free cell phones, health care, schooling and hotel rooms at tax payer expense. Amazing hypocrisy from those who claim to care about America. Meanwhile, Pelosi and others who want to help people who break out immigration laws ignore the suffering of Americans living on the street with no bus rides, no solutions, no hotels with paid bills for their stay. Disgusting. Send the illegal immigrants to all the neighborhoods where Democrats live so they can show how much they care outside of a photo op.


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