The controversial decision by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to relocate migrants to the vacation island has been met with praise from long-term residents, who saw it as a method of emphasizing President Biden’s border crisis — one even arguing that former President Barack Obama’s $12 million home should have been used as a processing center.
Thursday’s arrival of just 50 Venezuelan migrants in the peaceful seaside community of Newburyport, Massachusetts, turned it upside down, plunging the town into crisis and forcing the tourism board to declare a “humanitarian crisis.’”
Resident Elizabeth Osborn Bostrom explained to The Post that she “stayed out of town most of the day” to avoid the crowd.
“People here leave their doors open. It’s safe and there’s no real crime, usually,” she stated.
“I’m not upset they came here, but I’m a little wary. I have my doors locked.”
Bostrom continued, “I don’t blame DeSantis one bit.”
“He’s trying to draw attention to the problem America has currently,” she stated.
“It’s not an anti-immigration move. It’s bringing the biggest issue in America to people’s doorsteps.”
On Friday, to end the emergency and relocate the migrants to Joint Base Cape Cod on the mainland, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker called in the National Guard.
For 42 years, Martha’s Vineyard native and crime novelist Jane Chittick has called the island home, but she now spends part of the year in Florida.
Chittick said: “I don’t think people like the Obamas with huge estates who live here in the summer will care (about the migrants).
“They have all these signs: ‘Private Property,’ ‘No Trespassing,’ ‘Do Not Come,’ ‘Police Are Patrolling.’ They’re not going to be on the streets in town or the church where a lot of the migrants were put last night.”
President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama own a $12 million home on the island, where he hosted a large celebration to mark his 60th birthday in August 2021, attended by hundreds of his famous pals.
“I would love to see the Obamas open up their huge property and erect tents and look after all these people while they’re being processed,” Chittick stated.
Although some people advocated for the migrants to stay on the island, Friday’s relocation took them away from the wealthy and influential residents of the island, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, comedians Amy Schumer and Seth Myers, director Spike Lee and ex-Obama aide Valerie Jarrett.
“The people who live there are rich and removed from real life,” Chittick stated, calling them all “phonies.” “These people will love the fact the immigrants have been dropped off on their island, because now they can feel like part of the solution, helping these few people. But they’d never let them into their houses unless they were working.”
According to Chittick, Martha’s Vineyard became a destination for wealthy elites roughly ten years ago who desired the tranquility of island living – resulting in the displacement of many working-class residents.
On Thursday, DeSantis controversially arranged for two planes to transport approximately 50 migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard in order to deliberately antagonize Democratic leaders and President Biden regarding his policies on the border.
The stunt enraged liberals, who accused DeSantis of using the migrants as “political pawns.”
Ms. Belcastro, the winter shelter director for Harbor Homes of Martha’s Vineyard, told journalists “we do not have the services to take care of 50 immigrants, and we certainly don’t have housing.”
“We’re in a housing crisis as we are on this island, and so we don’t … have housing for 50 more people,” she stated.
The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce website says that the island has a population of “roughly 17,000 year-round residents” but that it “increases to nearly 200,000” during the summertime. This assertion conflicts with what locals are claiming.
Furthermore, 63% of all the homes there “belong to seasonal residents.”
Julianne Vanderhoop, a 57-year-old baker, said “The rich build homes for millions of dollars and then keep them empty.” “These houses are huge and overbuilt,” she added.
According to Vanderhoop, chair of the Aquinnah Select Board, “people used to be more generous here,” and he attributed the lack of affordable housing on the island to wealthy summer residents. “It’s extremely hard for those who live here and work here, for us to remain here,” he stated.
Vanderhoop, chair of the Aquinnah Select Board, also said that “people used to be more generous here” and blamed wealthy summer residents for the lack of affordable housing on the island.“It’s extremely hard for those who live here and work here, for us to remain here,” he said.