Martha’s Vineyard authorities have described the arrival of 50 migrants on their affluent island as a ‘humanitarian crisis’ – despite the median household income being significantly higher than the national average.
The declaration came as a lawmaker who previously said that he would ‘love’ to see the wealthy area turn into a ‘haven’ for immigrants slammed Governor Ron DeSantis for flying in 50 migrants.
‘To our Island community, here is an update on current humanitarian crisis on Martha’s Vineyard,’ the official account of the tourist board tweeted on Thursday.
‘We thank people for their continued help.’
The community issued a statement, saying that they were working on a ‘coordinated regional response’, and two emergency shelters had been created.
‘All activated local Emergency Management will remain in effect as we learn more and anticipate our State partners coordinated response.’
The exclusive enclave is where Barack and Michelle Obama bought their $12 million vacation home in 2019, and where he celebrated his 60th birthday last year.
In 2017, John Kerry bought a historic waterfront property in Chilmark for $11.75 million.
Celebrity visitors include Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and members of the Kennedy family.
The median house in Martha’s Vineyard is worth almost $800,000, according to the census, and the median household is $77,370 – well above the national average of $67,521.
Keith Chatinover, a Democrat county commissioner for the area, made the comments in response to Sen Ted Cruz’s pushing a bill for Democrat-led areas to become post of entry for processing migrants.
But he now appears unhappy at having his wish granted, and has retweeted rants all day of accusing the Florida governor of being a fascist and human trafficker for sending migrants to the billionaires’ enclave.
He told the MVTimes in October 2021: ‘I would love Martha’s Vineyard to become a haven for new immigrants to this country, but Senator Cruz has no idea what he’s talking about regarding a ‘border crisis.’
But now he is being called out for the comments, after branding DeSantis a ‘fascist’ for escalating the immigration war with Democrat-run areas.
DeSantis flew two planes of 50 migrants to the liberal town on the island.
He also called out the Texas senator for referencing his comments from last year, saying ‘I really am living rent free in your head huh Ted Cruz.’
Chatinover tweeted that he does ‘support refugee resettlement’ but has an issue when they are not given ‘advance notice’ to ‘adequately help’ the migrants
DeSantis flew in the two planes without giving any warning, sparking criticism from Democrats – including New York Mayor Eric Adams
Chatinover retweeted someone else who called DeSantis ‘fascist scum’ who said he should be ‘prosecuted for human trafficking’
Keith Chatinover, a county commissioner for the area, made the comments in response to Sen Ted Cruz’s pushing a bill for Democrat-led areas to become post of entry for processing migrants
School buses were used to get the group of migrants, mostly from Venezuela, to the church that provided shelter
Cruz tweeted that he was ‘confused’ over Chatinover slamming DeSantis for flying the illegal immigrants into the area – where the Obamas, Oprah Winfrey and Larry David have properties.
Chatinover tweeted that he does ‘support refugee resettlement’ but has an issue when they are not given ‘advance notice’ to ‘adequately help’ the migrants.
He added that the chaos of the situation for the Republicans to ‘prove a point’ was a ‘blatant disregard’ for human rights.
State Rep. Dylan Fernandes posted a photo showing him with a group of the migrants after vowing to help
Fernandes said that some migrants will likely need to be moved to an ‘off-Island location’ due to limited housing availability at Martha’s Vineyard
Chatinover retweeted someone else who called DeSantis ‘fascist scum’ who said he should be ‘prosecuted for human trafficking.’
Replying to Ted Cruz’s tweet defending DeSantis, he said: ‘Notice Ted Cruz how when refugees showed up on our shores, we provided them with food and shelter—not cages and family separations.’
Assistant Speaker of the U.S. House Katherine Clark has also slammed DeSantis’ actions, calling him ‘despicable’ for ‘ playing politics with human life.’
Democratic State Rep Dylan Fernandes has branded the move as ‘inhumane’ and accused the Florida governor of using human beings as ‘political pawns’.
Fernandes said that some migrants will likely need to be moved to an ‘off-Island location’ due to limited housing availability at Martha’s Vineyard.
DeSantis press secretary Bryan Griffin criticized the reaction from the left, saying their anger is misplaced.
He added: ‘The left’s outrage not being directed at the border policies incentivizing human smuggling and dangerous treks across Central America — but at chartered flights to their own doorstep — speaks volume.’
Following their arrival on Wednesday, the migrants stayed overnight at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, which provided emergency shelter by clearing out the parish hall and setting up cots
Dozens of representatives for Martha’s Vineyard blasted DESantis and the republican party for the move
Immigrants gather with their belongings outside St. Andrews Episcopal Church, a small parish in Edgartown
Following their arrival on Wednesday, the migrants stayed overnight at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown, which provided emergency shelter by clearing out the parish hall and setting up cots.
The small downtown parish is located on a quiet tree-lined street and nestled between multi-million homes, with one five-bedroom house next door currently listed for sale at $3.95 million, and another sold last year for $4.6 million.
St. Andrew’s is also just over three miles away from the Obama family’s $11.75 million vacation compound, which is situated on the coastal outskirts of Edgartown.
Martha’s Vineyard residents and local officials have been quick to voice outrage at DeSantis and other GOP governors for their migrant transplant programs.