Barnstable County

Local lawmakers tour Joint Base Cape Cod where migrants are staying

BOURNE, Mass. — Democratic and Republican elected leaders spent time on Joint Base Cape Cod to see first hand how the state is working with the migrants unexpectedly flown into our area last week. Both sides agree the state is handling the situation humanely and professionally.

More than 40 Venezuelan migrants were bussed into Joint Base Cape Cod on Friday after unexpectedly being flown into Martha’s Vineyard two days earlier. Local lawmakers from both political parties spent the morning on the military base to find out how the state is helping the migrants. Senator Julian Cyr and State Representative Dylan Fernandes spoke to reporters after they left the base. “They are eager to work, they are eager to get settled and be a part of society they told me,” said Cyr. “As their state continues and the attorneys work through their individual cases and case workers get them settled here I think people are going to very soon and some as early as today are going to start moving off the bases,” said Fernandes.

The legislators say all of the migrants, including six children, are working through the immigration process and deciding where they will go after leaving the base. Two people planned to leave for New York on Monday. Public school officials were on the base to help with enrollment. “I think that is a family decision but the Bourne public schools have been wonderful and connecting,” said Cyr.

The military base has set up living arrangements including meals. The migrants are also being connected with resources for housing, mental health and immigration. State Representative Steve Xiarhos believes the location where the migrants are being housed was very well done. “Notwithstanding other aspects of this situation, I believe state officials are managing the situation well and I give them credit for dealing with it professionally and humanely,” he said.

Officials are also working with the people to see if they were victims of a crime because of the way they were flown into Martha’s Vineyard without notice or telling the migrants where they were going. “Did you feel tricked, manipulated and they all say yes they used works yeah we felt like we were kidnapped, we didn’t know where we were going,” said Cyr. “At a bare minimum, like fraud, these are very fraudulent activities so I know there attorneys are pushing for a broader justice department response,” said Fernandes.

The state representative and state senator say the plan is to keep the base open as long as needed. Again this is a voluntary shelter so the migrants can come and go as they please.

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