Father Bill’s helps migrants airlifted to Vineyard
South Shore-based Father Bill’s & Mainspring is joining other organizations to help the 48 migrants, including four families, who are being housed at Joint Base Cape Cod after unexpectedly ending up on Martha’s Vineyard.
Alisa Magnotta, managing director of Housing Assistance Corp. in Hyannis, said its staff will work with Father Bill’s & MainSpring to help determine next steps regarding housing assistance and permanent housing options. Father Bill’s runs a homeless shelter in Quincy.
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Magnotta’s organization will raise money to relocate people and find accommodation as well as money for basic necessities, she said. The agency is also looking for Spanish-speaking volunteers. People can sign up to help firstname.lastname@example.org.
Permanent housing options can be developed once the state assesses families’ individual needs, said John Yazwinski, chief executive and president of Father Bill’s. Migrants may have family in Massachusetts or other parts of the United States, he said.
Father Bill’s is a non-profit organization that offers programs that provide emergency and permanent housing and help people gain skills, jobs, housing and services.
Yazwinski remembers helping those displaced on the ground during Hurricane Katrina and the earthquakes in Haiti and sending them to other areas where they felt supported.
“Right now we’re trying to listen to them and understand what they need,” he said. “Just because they’re from another country doesn’t mean they don’t have ties to people in Massachusetts or other parts of the country.”
At Joint Base Cape Cod, migrants will live in dormitory-style accommodations. Emergency management officials said there were spaces for singles and families and that families would stay together.
In addition to having a place to sleep, they will receive clothing, toiletries and food. They will have access to legal and healthcare services, as well as mental health and crisis counselling. Interpreters will be present to facilitate communication.
The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency works with organizations to provide these services.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Sunday that he has activated up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard to assist the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.
Venezuelans were stolen from Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday and dropped off at the airport without notice. Florida Governor Ron DeSantiswho is running for re-election and is expected to run for president in 2024, said he wants to move migrants to liberal-leaning areas as part of an effort to pressure President Joe Biden on issues at hand. the US-Mexico border.
DeSantis used Florida state budget money to pay for the flights.
More than 75% of Venezuelans live in extreme poverty, according to reports. The once prosperous OPEC nation has been experiencing an economic slump for years, pushing residents of the northern United States to seek work.
In the first 10 months of fiscal year 2022, Border Patrol encountered or apprehended more than 130,000 Venezuelan nationals, compared to more than 50,000 in fiscal year 2021.
Meanwhile, lawyers explore legal remedies for Venezuelan migrants.
The Lawyers for Civil Rights group says it represents more than 30 of the 48 migrants and is calling for a criminal investigation into what it described as a shameful political stunt, WCVB reported.
In letters to U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, Lawyers for Civil Rights said their clients were “counseled into boarding planes and crossing state lines under false pretences” and that it was “not until the flight was in full flight that they were informed that they would be flown to Martha’s Vineyard rather than Boston.”
U.S. Representative Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said the ordeal could be considered human trafficking.
“These are major violations of federal law that should be investigated,” McGovern said in a statement.
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A GoFundMe fundraising campaign on Martha’s Vineyard ended on Friday after raising $43,191 to help them.
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A Cape Cod resident shares her story:Venezuelans emigrate to the United States and now to Martha’s Vineyard: “Out of desperation”
A political gesture:Why is Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard?
Read more about what the Governor of Florida says:Governor Ron DeSantis relishes the left’s response to Florida-funded flights to Martha’s Vineyard