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Immigration attorneys, volunteers helping migrants moved to Martha's Vineyard

Immigration attorneys arrive on Martha's Vineyard to help migrants
Immigration attorneys arrive on Martha's Vineyard to help migrants 03:32

EDGARTOWN - In the migrants' second day on the island, immigration attorneys started showing up to Edgartown to help.

Roughly 50 Venezuelan migrants were dropped off on private planes on Wednesday afternoon. They say they came from San Antonio, Texas, but Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is claiming he sent them.

The migrants did not know where they were being sent, and the people of Martha's Vineyard had no idea they were coming. Still, St. Andrew's Church and local volunteer groups rushed to help, housing the migrants, and providing donations of clothing and food.

"If the intention of those who perpetrated this horrendous act was to create a crisis, you have failed," said Rachel Self, an immigration attorney. She spent Thursday afternoon meeting with the migrants to better understand their situation.

Self claims the migrants' delivery to the Vineyard is an "attempt to ensure that these people are ordered removed even as they try as hard as they can to comply with the instructions provided to them," she explained.

She says the migrants were given maps with a red line from Texas to Massachusetts, which she showed to reporters, and then sent on the plane.

Self says the migrants told her staff that they were cleared by government agents ahead of boarding the planes in Texas, given paperwork with addresses to homeless shelters in places like Washington State and DC, and signed up for immigration appointments on Monday, September 19th, at various immigration offices nationwide.

"Their biggest concern today is that many of them have dates to appear in San Antonio Monday morning, in Tacoma, Washington Monday morning," she explained.

Self believes whoever is behind the relocation of these migrants is attempting to get them sent back where they came from. "This was a purposeful derailment designed to prevent people from complying with federal immigration policies," she said. "This is problematic because the state should not be interfering with federal immigration policies."

Self and her staff are staying on the island to help the migrants. She says she has also been contacted by other immigration attorneys looking to help with their situation. 

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