US: ‘Easy pickings’: In Texas town where Martha’s Vineyard ordeal began, few options for migrants

GoFundMe for Martha's Vineyard migrants sent the cash to a $16m local non-profit instead

  GoFundMe for Martha's Vineyard migrants sent the cash to a $16m local non-profit instead Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Friday pointed out that the $43,000 donated to a GoFundMe for the Venezuelan migrants on Martha's Vineyard was being given to a local group.The migrants were flown to the holiday island from Texas on Wednesday, on flights chartered by Florida's governor Ron DeSantis. On Friday morning, the 50 left Martha's Vineyard, bound for a Cape Cod air base which was better equipped to house them.

The journey to Martha’s Vineyard began in Eagle Pass.

A bus full of people from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba is shuttled away from Eagle Pass, Texas, by a group of volunteers from the League of United Latin American Citizens. © Carl Juste/Miami Herald/TNS A bus full of people from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba is shuttled away from Eagle Pass, Texas, by a group of volunteers from the League of United Latin American Citizens.

This tiny Texas town, located 2.5 hours of sweltering highway southwest of San Antonio, has become a common point of entry for asylum seekers from Central and South America. Among them: the 48 migrants who were unwittingly sent to the posh Massachusetts island by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week after many said a mysterious woman who identified herself as “Perla” promised them jobs on the other end of the trip.

Florida Gov. DeSantis vows to continue relocating migrants after 2 flights sent to Martha's Vineyard

  Florida Gov. DeSantis vows to continue relocating migrants after 2 flights sent to Martha's Vineyard On Friday, a group of migrants, mostly originating from Venezuela, arrived at their new temporary home on Cape Cod.Officials have been working to house, feed and support the group of about 50 migrants since they arrived on the wealthy Massachusetts island Wednesday afternoon.

On Sunday, a family from Venezuela turned themselves in to U.S. authorities in Eagle Pass, after wading through the mostly shallow water of the Rio Grande that runs under one of the bridges connecting the border town to Piedras Negras, Mexico. The family of four had been traveling for over a month, the mother, who identified herself as Carolina, told the Miami Herald. Her youngest child, just over a year old, gave fist bumps to a member of the National Guard offering migrants water and words of encouragement.

There’s nothing else for Carolina and others like her in Eagle Pass.

Migrants who cross here are vulnerable to scammers — and political opportunists, said Domingo Garcia, president of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), an advocacy group.

History's famous and most notorious lines and queues

  History's famous and most notorious lines and queues Ever since we were told to form a line, humanity has spent hours, sometimes days, queuing for something, be it to shop, vote, eat, or escape. Waiting in line became the new norm for many of us during the global coronavirus pandemic, and it's worth taking a closer look at this mostly orderly but sometimes chaotic social phenomenon. Starting on September 15, hundreds and thousands of mourners began to line up to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II. As is tradition when the monarch dies, her coffin is lying in state at Westminster Hall where members of the public can file through to say goodbye. Elizabeth was the longest-reigning monarch in British history, having carried the burden of the crown for 70 years, and as such there are very few surviving Brits who have experienced the death of a monarch before. The logistics alone are mind-boggling. An estimated 200,000 people are expected to visit Westminster Hall over the three-day period. A careful route has been mapped out for the extensive queue with barriers and police stationed throughout. It stretches for miles down London's South Bank along the River Thames, passing various landmarks like the London Eye and the Globe theater. It's been reported that the line was five miles (8 km) long on Thursday as thousands queued up overnight before the doors opened on Friday. Preparations have been made for a line of up to nine miles (14.5 km) as visits continue over the weekend. The Queen's funeral will take place on Monday, September 19. Click through the gallery for a lineup of some famous and notorious queues throughout history.

“These people have no money or resources,” Garcia said in an interview in Eagle Pass. “They’re totally vulnerable to any offer of free transportation since they don’t have any resources of their own. If you’re a young mother without any resources, you’re easy pickings for people who are going to use you as political pawns.”

Garcia and other volunteers came to the border to inform migrants of the pitfalls of trusting offers like the one that ended with migrants finding themselves on a Massachusetts island that was unprepared for them.

Instead, they packed the bus carrying volunteers with nearly 30 migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, who Garcia said crossed the border with children — the youngest one month old — and no resources at all. The price for a bus ticket from Eagle Pass to San Antonio is roughly $50.

None of them could afford that and they might have been stranded had LULAC not offered them seats.

Little churches still matter, says Martha's Vineyard pastor who took in migrants

  Little churches still matter, says Martha's Vineyard pastor who took in migrants CBS News tells the story of "Our American Village," a first-person narrative series that takes us inside diverse communities across the country to show that there is more than one way to be American. Madison Nguyen is the former Vice Mayor of San Jose, California, who helped in the naming of Little Saigon, a small business district where many Vietnamese businesses thrive.

“We depended on the charity of others,” said one migrant, Ricardo, who had traveled from Venezuela with his family, including two young children. They had started with nothing but hoped the United States would provide a better life.

To get out of Texas, the migrants need to reach San Antonio, which offers a resource center for people who’ve just arrived in the United States. That’s where the previous group of 48 — who Garcia said were mostly Venezuelan — received the offer for free flights.

DeSantis has said he used taxpayer money to fly those 48 migrants from San Antonio to Martha’s Vineyard to prevent them from ending up in Florida.

“We’ve had people in Texas for months, trying to figure out how are these people getting into Florida? What’s the movement?” DeSantis said at a Friday news conference. “And the reality is, 40% of them say they want to go to Florida.”

But most of the people on the LULAC bus said they wanted to go to New York.

DeSantis’ office did not respond to a request for comment late Sunday that asked who the state’s “people” on the ground were — or how they’d arrived at the 40% figure the governor cited. DeSantis’ operation to move migrants from Texas to Massachusetts has generated national headlines and controversy.

DeSantis sends two planes with migrants to Martha's Vineyard

  DeSantis sends two planes with migrants to Martha's Vineyard Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) sent two planeloads of migrants to Martha's Vinyard on Wednesday.Video showing the arrival of the planes was obtained by Fox News, which also reported a statement from the governor's office. Roughly 50 migrants, including children, arrived at Martha’s Vineyard Airport in Massachusetts, according to the Martha's Vineyard Times.

Several of those on the state-financed charter flights to Martha’s Vineyard told news outlets that a woman named “Perla” approached them outside the migrant aid center in San Antonio last week. She promised them that they would have work papers waiting for them in Boston and gave some of them food and hotel rooms, according to various outlets. She then arranged for the migrants to board two flights that landed in Martha’s Vineyard on Wednesday.

Fleeing Venezuela

The migrants who got on the flights were fleeting Venezuela, where the economy has collapsed under the regime of Nicolás Maduro, a left-wing, populist indicted by the United States in connection with narco-terrorism and corruption.

The number of Venezuelans entering the United States has steadily climbed this year. In July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported encounters with more than 17,000 Venezuelan nationals — triple the figure in May and the highest number since January.

Many are traveling through Panama’s treacherous Darien Gap jungle region, where they face harsh conditions, disease and violence from criminal groups, according to the Washington Office on Latin America, a research and advocacy group.

CPB’s Del Rio Sector, which includes Eagle Pass, has seen a huge jump in migrant crossings over the last fiscal year, with the number of encounters doubling, federal border statistics show.

Massachusetts Dems react after DeSantis transports migrants into ritzy Martha's Vineyard: 'Evil and inhumane'

  Massachusetts Dems react after DeSantis transports migrants into ritzy Martha's Vineyard: 'Evil and inhumane' Democratic lawmakers who represent Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts reacted after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis flew two planes full of migrants into the area.On Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers voiced their criticism online after they were forced to act swiftly to provide them shelter, food, blankets and other necessities to the 50 migrants who now reside in their state.

Once they’ve reached the border, many migrants seek political asylum. After passing a “credible fear screening” — where refugees must demonstrate to U.S. authorities that they face a significant possibility of persecution in their homelands — most are released. That means they can live and possibly work freely in the United States while awaiting an asylum hearing.

Randolph McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Legal Services for the Archdiocese of Miami, said people traveling from Venezuela have “strong political asylum claims” due to the crisis in their homeland. Because of the fractured U.S. relations with Venezuela, it is difficult for the United States to deport people back there, he said. A similar situation exists with deportations to Nicaragua, said Maureen Porras, legal director at the nonprofit Church World Service. Cuba has also rejected deportation flights. More people from all three nations are coming to the United States as the situations there deteriorate, according federal statistics.

All migrants must give Immigration and Customs Enforcement addresses where they plan to stay in the United States, so that the federal government can contact hem.

Flying migrants to Martha’s Vineyard or busing them to Washington D.C. or Chicago, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has done, can complicate their ability to keep up with their cases and make court dates, said Angel Leal, a Miami immigration attorney.

“When the states interfere with that and start transporting these immigrants to random states,” Leal said, “it’s going to cause problems.”

Still, those problems pale in comparison with the perils of the journey to the United States.

Wilmary Muñoz traveled to Eagle Pass from Venezuela, on foot, through the jungle between Colombia and Panama with her 7-year-old son.

“Nobody saves you. You can stay, dying there, nobody is there to help you. Everyone is there for themselves,” said Muñoz, who boarded the LULAC bus with her son. “I had to give it everything I had, for him and for me.”

©2022 McClatchy Washington Bureau. Visit mcclatchydc.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Democrats seethe over migrant ‘political stunt’ at Martha’s Vineyard .
Senate Democrats are seething over what they say was a “political stunt” by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who have sent planeloads and busloads of Venezuelan migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and Washington, D.C. Democratic lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with DeSantis and other GOP governors for…Democratic lawmakers have grown increasingly frustrated with DeSantis and other GOP governors for transporting migrants to the liberal metropolises of Washington, New York and Chicago in an effort to pressure the Biden administration to pay more attention to illegal immigration.

See also