Most of the roughly 50 Venezuelan migrants who were flown to Martha's Vineyard last month at the behest of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are still being lodged at Joint Base Cape Cod, though Massachusetts is working to come up with better and less temporary solutions, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday.
"I think everybody understands this is a temporary solution. We're working with people to come up with better ones. I mean, Joint Base is a great place to have folks on a transitional basis. It's not a good place to have people on a long-term basis," Baker said Monday after speaking to the Providers' Council in Boston.
DeSantis directed about 50 Venezuelan asylum-seekers to be flown to and left on Martha's Vineyard in September as part of what DeSantis' office said was its office's "relocation program to transport illegal immigrants to sanctuary destinations." After being put up in a church on the island for a night, the state offered to move the migrants to more suitable, but still temporary, housing at Joint Base Cape Cod.
Get New England news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NECN newsletters.
There are 35 people still living at the temporary shelter. The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security said Tuesday afternoon that it is expected they will move into different accommodations this weekend. The shelter is expected to close by the weekend.
"Joint Base Cape Cod is not really part of what I would describe as a neighborhood or a community. It's what it is, it's a military base. And I think for most of these folks, if they get their paperwork squared away, the big thing that they and we would like to see them do is figure out some way to turn that into work, because that's the reason most of them say they came in the first place," the governor said.
Asked about the possibility of helping people who have had to evacuate Florida as it was hit by Hurricane Ian late last week, Baker said that Massachusetts "would of course be willing to help in any way that makes sense" and added that Massachusetts is already working through an interstate agreement to help Florida process some of its unemployment claims.