A migrant claims he was paid $200 in cash by a mystery woman named “Perla” to recruit people from a Texas immigrant resource center to board a plane to Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis claimed responsibility for two flights transporting around 50 undocumented immigrants to the luxurious island of Massachusetts as part of what the Republican official called “a relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations.” . It follows similar schemes created by other conservative governors in Texas and Arizona to move immigrants to Democratic-controlled areas in the north in protest of the Biden administration’s border policies.
Apparently, the local authorities of Martha’s Vineyard had not received prior notification of the immigrants’ arrival. On Thursday, the Dukes County Emergency Management Association tweeted that the “urgent and unexpected humanitarian situation” had required the opening of emergency shelters on Martha’s Vineyard.
And curious details are beginning to emerge about how the immigrants got onto the planes in the first place, with multiple outlets reporting that the people on the planes were misled about their prospects when they arrived.
A 27-year-old Venezuelan migrant even claims he was paid money by a mysterious figure to find people outside the migrant resource center in San Antonio to board one of the flights.
The man who called himself simply Emmanuel told the San Antonio Report that a woman he only knew as “Perla” said she wanted to take migrants to “sanctuary states” where more government support would be available to them.
“Perla informed me that in those sanctuary states, the state has the benefits to help migrants,” Emmanuel told the outlet, explaining that he gave Perla the contact information of 10 other migrants. “I’ve only been the mediator because I like to help people.”
He added that Perla, who told him she was not involved in organizing the flights and simply wanted to help people, said the money she offered to pay Emmanuel to find others came from an “anonymous benefactor,” who also financed the flights.
A separate report in the Vineyard Gazette included a reference to an anonymous migrant who said he had been recruited by a person named Perla to go to Massachusetts, despite having an immigration court date in Los Angeles next week. “I think this is all a ploy so that we don’t make it to our court dates and thus have problems with the law and they can deport us,” said the anonymous migrant.
Another person who moved to Martha’s Vineyard and called himself Luis said Reuters that someone named Perla approached them and their family outside the San Antonio immigration center. Luis said Perla put them up in a hotel, but did not tell them her last name or any affiliation, and asked them to sign a liability waiver.
Separately, the governor of Texas. Greg Abbott sent two buses full of immigrants Thursday to drop them off near the official residence of Vice President Kamala Harris in Washington, DC.
“Republicans are playing politics with human beings, using them as props,” President Biden said at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Gala on Thursday night. “What they are doing is just wrong.”