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Martha’s Vineyard migrants offered shelter at Joint Base Cape Cod

Gov. Charlie Baker said he plans to activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard as part of the relief effort.

Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff
A mother and child spent some time outside St. Andrew's in Edgartown, where migrants were being fed lunch with donated food.

The Venezuelan migrants who arrived on Martha’s Vineyard Wednesday are being offered resources and temporary shelter on Cape Cod, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday. 

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency is coordinating efforts among state and local officials to ensure access to food, shelter and essential services for the group at Joint Base Cape Cod

Baker also said he plans to activate up to 125 members of the Massachusetts National Guard as part of the relief effort.

The group of about 50 migrants arrived on two charter planes sent by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis as a political statement on border security. The transport drew widespread condemnation from a number of politicians in Massachusetts and beyond

While Martha’s Vineyard residents worked with local and state officials to create temporary shelter and provide necessities, the island communities are not equipped to provide sustainable accommodation, Baker’s office said. On Friday, the state will offer transportation to a new temporary shelter on JBCC, and the move will be voluntary.


“We are grateful to the providers, volunteers and local officials that stepped up on Martha’s Vineyard over the past few days to provide immediate services to these individuals,” Baker said in a statement. “Our Administration has been working across state government to develop a plan to ensure these individuals will have access to the services they need going forward, and Joint Base Cape Cod is well equipped to serve these needs.”

Joint Base Cape Cod is already a MEMA-designated emergency shelter, and its existing infrastructure provides a safe temporary accommodation with designated space for access to legal services and essentials such as basic health care, Baker’s office said. JBCC has previously housed displaced individuals, including during Hurricane Katrina. 

The migrants will be housed in dormitory-style spaces, and families will not be separated, according to Baker’s announcement. 

MEMA is collaborating with state agencies and nonprofit organizations to ensure the migrants have access to legal services, health care, food and other resources.

“While Wednesday’s arrival on Martha’s Vineyard was unexpected, the extraordinary response was not,” Public Safety and Security Secretary Terrence Reidy said in a statement. “The work of so many state and local partners exemplify the best values of our Commonwealth, providing safe shelter, food and care for individuals that had been through a long, harrowing journey.”


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