When Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis chartered two flights of Venezuelan migrants to Martha's Vineyard, it not only made the island ground zero for the U.S's conversation on immigration policy but also shined a national spotlight the community leaders who responded swiftly to meet the needs of those who were displaced by DeSantis' political maneuver.

Among those leaders is Massachusetts Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro), who has represented Cape Cod and the Islands on Beacon Hill since 2017. Cyr has been on the national media circuit providing an on-the-ground perspective of the response to the migrants' arrival. He's also dispelling the narratives being put forward by conservatives about the response.

One of those narratives was the suggestion that islanders were eager to send the migrants off the island as soon as they could. Cyr, in a recent appearance on WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight, rebuffed this notion as being "spun up by some of the darker forces and the nasty part of our politics."

"This was a real humanitarian response," Cyr said. "Treating people with dignity and respect and compassion when they had been manipulated for political gain."

Cyr noted that the emergency winter shelter that the migrants were housed in on the island was only meant for about a dozen people with only a single bathroom, which was the primary reason for the voluntary relocation to longer-term shelter at Joint Base Cape Cod. There, the migrants are receiving comprehensive wrap-around services such as meeting with homeless services providers, medical support, and legal support.

"But I actually expect several of these folks may actually return to the island as they're trying to figure out where they're going to settle," Cyr said. "There's been a number of offers for longer-term housing on the island and also offers for work as well."

WBSM-AM/AM 1420 logo
Get our free mobile app

Cyr – along with State Rep. Dylan Fernandes, who represents Martha's Vineyard in the State House – recently penned a letter to U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachel Rollins and Attorney General Merrick Garland calling for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the transport of migrants Martha's Vineyard, which has been alleged to have been executed under false pretenses.

He noted that the migrants who were transported to the island were all legally permitted to be within U.S. borders, having formally claimed asylum with federal immigration officials in Texas, and that Governor DeSantis's actions raise legitimate questions of federal due process and/or criminal violations.

The Cape and Islands senator also echoed similar sentiments as Congressman Bill Keating regarding the ethnically diverse working-class population of Martha's Vineyard that lives on the island year-round.

"Median income on Martha's Vineyard is $42,0000 a year," Cyr said. "One in four of the students in Martha's Vineyard schools speak a language other than English at home. One in four of our students are students of Color here."

He also noted that census data from 2020 indicates that in the previous decade there has been an over 20 person increase in the population of Martha's Vineyard and that most of that increase has been driven by an influx of immigrants settling on the island.

"I will note that Ron DeSantis did parachute into my district this summer for a $5,000-a-person fundraiser on Nantucket, but he clearly didn't stay long enough to meet the real people who live here," Cyr said.

Listen Senator Julian Cyr's full interview with Marcus Ferro on SouthCoast Tonight at the 19:20 mark below.

WBSM's Top SouthCoast Stories 9/19 - 9/25

These are the top stories of the past week on WBSM.com and on the WBSM app. Click on the title or photo to read the entire story.

WBSM's Top SouthCoast Stories 9/11-9/17

These are the top stories of the past week on WBSM.com and on the WBSM app. Click on the title or photo to read the entire story.

More From WBSM-AM/AM 1420