Two planes carrying about 50 migrants from Florida arrived unannounced in Martha's Vineyard on Wednesday (September 14), forcing local officials to scramble to take care of them.
A spokesperson for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis confirmed that his office chartered the flights.
"States like Massachusetts, New York, and California will better facilitate the care of these individuals who they have invited into our country by incentivizing illegal immigration through their designation as 'sanctuary states' and support for the Biden administration's open border policies," Taryn Fenske said in a statement.
The Cape Cod Times reported that the migrants walked over two miles from the airport until they were spotted in the parking lot by a receptionist at Martha's Vineyard Community Services. They did not speak English, and several said they had no idea where they were.
"We COVID-tested them all. Everyone was negative. A little girl had a temperature, so we separated her with her family. A lot of them were shellshocked and afraid," Janet Constantino, a therapist and nurse practitioner working at the center, told the paper.
Reverend Vincent G. "Chip" Seadale, rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, offered the church for the migrants to stay on Wednesday night until officials could figure out the next steps.
"Overnight, they can sleep on the pews or in the parish hall on the floor. We are in communication with the governor's office for possible help, but these are people just like me and you, and they need care and attention," he said.
Massachusetts State Senator Julian Cyr praised local officials, telling the New York Times that residents and volunteers from six towns on the island "really moved heaven and earth to essentially set up the response that we would do in the event of a hurricane."