Lawmakers Supporting Martha’s Vineyard Migrants Say They Faced Threats
- Two lawmakers say they have received death threats for their support of migrants streaming into Martha’s Vineyard.
- “You should see my inbox right now and how ugly it is,” said Massachusetts state Rep. Dylan Fernandez.
- Last week, 50 migrants were taken to Martha’s Vineyard in a move orchestrated by Florida Governor DeSantis.
Two Democratic Massachusetts state lawmakers representing the island of Martha’s Vineyard say they have received death threats from Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis over their support for migrants streaming into the coastal enclave.
State Rep. Dylan Fernandez and state Sen. Julian Cyr said they received the threat after helping about 50 immigrants from Venezuela who were brought to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas last week undeclared.
“You should see my inbox right now and how ugly it is,” Fernandez WGBH’s Greater Boston said On Tuesday, Massachusetts State Police were notified of the situation.
“My poor staff had to listen to voicemails, and we had to alert the state police to death threats, and you know, I get stuff all the time,” he said.
The lawmaker said the hateful messages he received “speaks to the nature of where we are in this country where treating people with dignity is a controversial issue.”
“I mean, it’s mind-boggling to me that anyone could think that’s an acceptable thing to do — to use women and children as political pawns,” Fernandes said.
Sir was Cited by Axios Saying he’s taking the backlash he’s received over his advocacy on behalf of immigrants “in stride.”
“I try to focus on responding to my constituents, to make sure that these Venezuelan immigrants are treated with dignity and respect,” Cyr said, according to Axios.
A spokesperson for the state senator told Insider on Wednesday that he was aware of at least one death threat against Cyr.
Last week, DeSantis drew criticism after he flew immigrants to Martha’s Vineyard on two chartered planes in what attorneys for immigrants called a “shameful political stunt.”
A group of immigrants filed a federal class action lawsuit against DeSantis and other state officials on Tuesday, alleging that they “conspired to defraud vulnerable immigrants to advance political ends.”
Lawyers representing most of the immigrants have called on state and federal prosecutors to open a criminal investigation into the situation.
The migrants have since been transferred to a military base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
Fernandes told WGBH’s Greater Boston that the threats he’s received “are nothing compared to what these people have done.”
“Some walked for 60 days to get to the border, followed by gang violence, some robbed, others physically harmed,” said the lawmaker. “Don’t worry about my voicemail – what matters is the incredible misery these people have gone through.”
“And once they finally got here through everything they were not treated with human decency, they were lied to and they were sent away and used,” he said. “We’re going to treat people like people here.”