‘Felt like we were kidnapped’: Mass. lawmakers speak with migrants as investigation begins

BOURNE, Mass. — A pair of local lawmakers who toured the shelter at Joint Base Cape Cod Monday are echoing a Texas sheriff in his cries of wrongdoing.

Massachusetts State Senator Dylan Fernandes and Massachusetts State Representative Julian Cyr visited the military base where 48 Venezuelan migrants are receiving lodging, food and support after being flown unexpectedly to Martha’s Vineyard last week.

“Did you feel tricked, did you feel manipulated, and they all say yes,” said Cyr. “They used words like, ‘we felt kidnapped, we didn’t know where we were going’.”

Boston 25 News has learned the migrants were brought from San Antonio to Florida last week. They were then flown to Massachusetts.

“At a bare minimum, like fraud, these are some very fraudulent activities,” Fernandes said. “I know their attorneys are pushing for a broader Department of Justice response.”

Massachusetts lawmakers from both political parties visited the base hours before Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar announced plans to launch an investigation into how and why the migrants were transported to Martha’s Vineyard.

Salazar said the migrants were in Texas legally when they were lured onto a plane under false pretenses then abandoned on the island.

“They were promised work, they were promised the solution to several of their problems,” Salazar said. “Then they were unceremoniously stranded in Martha’s Vineyard.”

Salazar said he is working with an attorney based in Boston who is representing many of the migrants. He said the allegations are very serious but could not yet say what laws – if any – were broken.”They had a right to not be preyed upon and played for a fool and transported halfway across the country just for the sake of a media event, of a video opportunity,” Salazar said. “That’s a tragedy at the very least, at the worst probably some sort of a crime, what was promised to these people and what they were used for.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had previously claimed that his deportation program was responsible for the migrants’ arrival on Martha’s Vineyard.

DeSantis responded to Salazar’s claims Monday in a statement saying the migrants are being treated better in Massachusetts than they were in Texas.

“They have been provided accommodations, sustenance, clothing and more options to succeed following their unfair enticement into the United States, unlike the 53 immigrants who died in a truck found abandoned in Bexar County this June,” his office said in a statement.While the investigation gets underway, the migrants are receiving food, lodging and support at Joint Base Cape Cod. It is a voluntary shelter, and they are free to come and go as they please.

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