New Bedford City Councilor Pereira on Vineyard When Migrants Arrive
Ward 6 New Bedford City Councilor Ryan Pereira picked a good week to vacation with his family on Martha's Vineyard. Summer is fading, giving way to beautiful New England fall weather, and this week has been a doozy.
Time for some rest and relaxation on the largest of the 13 Elizabeth Islands off the Massachusetts Coast – unless, of course, an international news event breaks while you are vacationing.
The Pereira clan was on the island on Wednesday when news broke that two charter planes had landed carrying dozens of Venezuelan migrants in the country illegally. The human freight came courtesy of Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
DeSantis and his Texas colleague Republican Governor Greg Abbott, overwhelmed by the crisis at the southern border, have shipped illegal immigrants to places such as Washington, D.C., New York City, and Chicago. DeSantis and Abbott say Democrat leaders in sanctuary cities should do more to share the burden currently borne by border communities.
Councilor Pereira told me the folks he has spoken to on the island have "varying opinions" about what has happened.
"What really can you do but just help these people?" Pereira said.
He said islanders have delivered food and clothing to the migrants.
Asked what the reaction from his island friends was to the arrival of the migrants, Pereira said, "Shock is definitely a good word to use."
"There is a sense of frustration that they are here," he said.
As an elected official, Pereira said he understands the border situation presents "problems that need to be solved" through bipartisan cooperation between the "career politicians in Washington."
Boston's WCVB 5 reported on Thursday that the Baker Administration is looking into temporary housing options for the migrants.
Baker issued a statement on the matter Thursday:
“On behalf of the Commonwealth, I thank everyone on the ground who quickly came together to provide assistance on the Vineyard. The Commonwealth has many resources for assisting individuals that arrive in Massachusetts with varying immigration statuses and needs and is working with all partners involved to make sure those resources are available to the migrants that arrived last night. In addition, the Baker-Polito Administration is exploring setting up temporary shelter and humanitarian services at Joint Base Cape Cod and will share additional information as soon as it becomes available.”