A migrant claims that a mysterious woman named “Perla” paid him $200 cash to recruit people from a Texas migrant resource center to board a plane to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis claimed responsibility for two flights that transported around 50 undocumented migrants to the upscale Massachusetts island as part of “a relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations,” according to the Republican official. In response to the Biden administration’s border policies, fellow conservative governors in Texas and Arizona devised similar plans to relocate migrants to Democrat-controlled areas in the north.
It appears that local authorities on Martha’s Vineyard were not informed of the migrants’ arrival in advance. The Dukes County Emergency Management Association tweeted on Thursday that a “unexpected urgent humanitarian situation” had necessitated the opening of emergency shelters on Martha’s Vineyard.
And curious details about how the migrants ended up on the planes are beginning to emerge, with several outlets reporting that the people on the planes were misled about their prospects when they arrived.
One 27-year-old Venezuelan migrant claims to have been paid money by an unknown figure to find people outside the San Antonio migrant resource center to board one of the flights.
The man identified only as Emmanuel told the San Antonio Report that a woman identified only as “Perla” told him she wanted to get migrants to “sanctuary states” where they would receive more government assistance.
“Perla informed me that in those sanctuary states, the state has the benefits to help migrants,” Emmanuel explained to the outlet, adding that he gave Perla the contact information of about ten other migrants. “I’ve just acted as a go-between because I enjoy assisting others.”
He went on to say that Perla, who told him she had nothing to do with the flights and simply wanted to help people, said the money she offered to pay Emmanuel to find others came from a “anonymous benefactor,” who was also funding the flights.
A separate report in the Vineyard Gazette mentioned an unnamed migrant saying they had been recruited to go to Massachusetts by a person named Perla, despite having an immigration court date in Los Angeles next week. “I believe this is all a ruse to get us to miss our court dates so we get in trouble with the law, and they can deport us,” said the unnamed migrant.
Another person moved to Martha’s Vineyard and went by the name According to Luis, someone named Perla approached him and his family outside the San Antonio immigration center. Perla, according to Luis, put them up in a hotel but didn’t tell them her last name or affiliation and asked them to sign a liability waiver.
Separately, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday dispatched two busloads of migrants to be dropped near Vice President Kamala Harris’ official residence in Washington, D.C.
“Republicans are playing politics with people, using them as props,” President Biden said Thursday at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala. “What they’re doing is completely incorrect.”
Martha’s Vineyard is known as a destination for the progressive elite, and DeSantis has frequently mentioned the island enclave during press conferences. Republican governors in Texas and Arizona have also used taxpayer funds to transport migrants from the border to northern cities.
Democrats and immigrant rights advocates argue that these governors are essentially using migrants as political pawns. The governors, however, claim that they are simply drawing attention to a very real problem.