Politics

‘A really lousy thing to do’: Charlie Baker speaks out on Martha’s Vineyard migrant incident

"I would like to see the feds create an immigration policy that people can understand and that people can enforce, and people can abide by."

Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff
Charlie Baker criticized the national immigration system following an incident where 50 migrants were sent to Martha's Vineyard under false pretenses. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Gov. Charlie Baker offered remarks Tuesday concerning the 50 migrants who were flown to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas, via Florida, last week under “false pretenses.”

Baker said he hasn’t spoken to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who took credit for the transport. The Massachusetts governor said he’s “glad” that a Texas sheriff has launched a criminal investigation into the incident.

“I don’t know [if a crime was committed],” Baker told reporters Tuesday. “It’s up to the authorities on the ground there to figure out what did and didn’t happen.”  

Baker referred to the deception of innocent migrants as “a really lousy thing to do” and called for national immigration reform.

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“I would like to see the feds create an immigration policy that people can understand and that people can enforce, and people can abide by. We don’t have that,” he said, according to CBS Boston

Locally, Baker said he is working to find “appropriate housing” for the migrants on Martha’s Vineyard. They are currently staying in dormitory-style housing at Joint Base Cape Cod.

“They have a lot more privacy where they are now, but our goal is to come up with a strategy that figures out some way to help them land in what I would describe as a more appropriate setting,” he said.   

Baker also criticized the national immigration system Monday, telling reporters that it’s “screwed up.”

“It’s not a secret to anyone that our immigration system is broken, and it’s not a secret that the border is also broken because our immigration system is broken,” Baker said, according to Commonwealth Magazine. “The states can’t fix it. So any conversation with any governor doesn’t really get me anywhere.”

Delaware is also preparing for a possible arrival of migrants following the event in Martha’s Vineyard. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre confirmed Tuesday that the Biden administration has received word of the arrival, but it did not come from DeSantis: “His only goal is, as he’s made it really clear, is to create chaos.”

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