Baker calls on feds to fix immigration system after migrants were sent to Martha’s Vineyard

BOSTON – The Department of Homeland Security had no involvement in the transport of 50 Venezuelan migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a spokesperson confirmed to WBZ-TV. 

 “It’s not a secret to anyone that our immigration system is broken,” Governor Charlie Baker said Sunday. 

After speaking to reporters about the MBTA, Baker touched upon immigration and the 50 migrants who were flown to Martha’s Vineyard last week

“It’s not a secret that our border is also broken because the immigration system is broken and states can’t fix it. Okay?” he added. “So any conversation with any governor doesn’t really get me anywhere.”

Specifically, Baker is referring to Florida Governor Ron Desantis, who says he charted the private planes to take the Venezuelan migrants from Texas, through Florida, to Martha’s Vineyard – without warning any local government officials they were coming.

Baker has been a proponent of federal immigration reform for years, and in the wake of the Martha’s Vineyard “stunt,” he’s not the only person calling for the federal government to do something. A group of attorneys at Lawyers for Civil Rights is working directly with the migrants pairing them one on one with an immigration attorney. 

The group has called for a criminal investigation into Gov. Desantis. 

The migrants are “very traumatized by the fact that they were in one location and transferred to Martha’s Vineyard and now they had to be relocated to this military base,” attorney Mirian Albert explained. “But ultimately I think they’re in better spirits [now].”

In the meantime, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson calls Desantis’s move a “political stunt,” saying he is “treating people like livestock.”

Johnson, the Homeland Security Secretary under President Obama, defended the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement to Margaret Brennan on CBS’s Face the Nation. “This administration I believe unfairly is perceived as lax on border enforcement,” he said. “In fact, we are sending back over 100,000 people a month and have been for the last two years.”

Still, there is room for improvement, Johnson said, especially as there is a growing flux of migrants coming from Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela “who are not cooperating” with immigration laws.

“We do need to move people to the interior, but in a well-coordinated effort with NGOs and Catholic Charities, state and local government, and the federal government. There is a right way to do that. It requires coordination and cooperation,” Johnson said.

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