PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Some of the migrants abandoned on Martha's Vineyard in September could find homes in Western Massachusetts.
On Sept. 14, approximately 50 South American asylum-seekers were sent to the island of Martha's Vineyard from San Antonio, Texas, under the direction of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. No one was informed of their imminent arrival, leaving the small island community to scramble to find shelter and services for them.
Central Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee Chair Michael Britton informed the committee on Wednesday morning that the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has been preparing for Western Mass as the next location to relocate some of these people.
The asylum-seekers had been transported to Joint Base Cape Cod to provide them more services, including legal services. Many of them had court dates in Texas that they would have missed being in the Northeast.
MEMA was concerned because it took a mass effort to get the immigrants situated and fed, said Britton, and the agency was developing locations and policies for them.
MEMA is in charge of finding housing for these people which is why they are coming up with procedures. This is the same role it played during COVID-19, said Lt. Col. Thomas Grady of the sheriff's office.
"We had all of the locations at hotels throughout the commonwealth, for people that were unhoused that needed to quarantine. So there's some models in place for how they can move people," he said.
Places like Pittsfield are likely to be notified if people will be moved to the Berkshires, and it is unlikely that places like Hinsdale or Becket will be chosen.
The September incident is now the subject of a class action lawsuit that alleges fraud in that the migrants were promised jobs and housing if they got on the plane.
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