Lawmakers who represent Martha's Vineyard says they've gotten death threats for supporting the migrants flown there by DeSantis

·3 min read
A group of migrants huddle on a sidewalk in front of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Martha's Vineyard.
A group of migrants huddle on a sidewalk in front of St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Martha's Vineyard.Jonathan Wiggs/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
  • Two lawmakers say they've gotten death threats over their support of the migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard.

  • "You should see my inbox right now and how ugly it is," Massachusetts State Rep. Dylan Fernandes said.

  • Last week, about 50 migrants were flown to Martha's Vineyard in a move planned by Florida Gov. DeSantis.

Two Democratic Massachusetts state lawmakers representing the island of Martha's Vineyard say they've gotten death threats as a result of their support for the migrants who were flown to the coastal enclave by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

State Rep. Dylan Fernandes and State Sen. Julian Cyr said they received the threats after coming to the aid of the roughly 50 migrants from Venezuela who were brought to Martha's Vineyard from Texas unannounced last week.

"You should see my inbox right now and how ugly it is," Fernandes told WGBH's Greater Boston on Tuesday, adding that Massachusetts State Police has been notified of the situation.

"My poor staff has had to listen to voicemails, and we've had to alert the state police of death threats, and you know, I'm getting stuff all the time," he said.

The legislator said that the hateful messages he has gotten speak "to the nature of where we are at in this country where treating human beings with dignity is a controversial thing."

"I mean it is mind-blowing to me that any human being could be this depraved to think this is an acceptable thing to do — to use women and children as political pawns," Fernandes said.

Cyr told Insider on Wednesday that he is not "surprised" by the backlash he has received, explaining, "There is nastiness in national American politics."

"Our focus remains on these new arrivals who found themselves on Massachusetts," Cyr said, adding, "We are treating them with dignity and respect and compassion."

A spokesperson for the state senator told Insider that she was aware of at least one death threat against Cyr.

Last week, DeSantis sparked a firestorm of criticism after he had the migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard on two chartered planes in what attorneys for the immigrants called a "shameful political stunt."

A group of the migrants on Tuesday filed a federal class action suit against DeSantis and other state officials, alleging that they carried out a "scheme to defraud vulnerable immigrants to advance a political motive."

Lawyers representing a majority of the migrants have called on state and federal prosecutors to open a criminal probe into the situation.

The immigrants have since been relocated to a military base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

Fernandes told WGBH's Greater Boston that the threats he's gotten "is nothing compared to what these people have gone through."

"Some have walked 60 days just to get to the border followed by gang violence, some were robbed, others were physically harmed," said the lawmaker. "Don't worry about my voicemail — what does matter is the incredible plight these people have gone through."

"And once they finally got here after going through all of that they weren't met with human decency, they were met with a lie and shipped off and used," he said. "We're going to treat people like human beings here."

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