September 24, 2022

  • Two lawmakers say they have received death threats for supporting migrants transferred to Martha’s Vineyard.
  • “You should see my inbox right away and how ugly it is,” said Massachusetts state representative Dylan Fernandes.
  • Last week, 50 migrants were transferred to Martha’s Vineyard in a move planned by Florida Governor DeSantis.

Two Massachusetts Democratic lawmakers who represent Martha’s Vineyard say they have received death threats as a result of their support for migrants being flown to the coastal enclave by Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

State Rep. Dylan Fernandes and state Sen. Julian Cyr said they received threats after they came to the aid of about 50 Venezuelan migrants who were brought unannounced to Martha’s Vineyard from Texas last week.

“You should see my inbox now and how ugly it is,” Fernandes he told WGBH’s Greater Boston on Tuesday, adding that the Massachusetts State Police had been notified of the situation.

“My poor staff had to listen to voice mail, and we had to alert the state police about death threats, and you know, I get stuff all the time,” he said.

The lawmaker said the hateful messages he received spoke “to the nature of the situation we find ourselves in in this country where treating human beings with dignity is a controversial issue.”

“I mean, it’s amazing to me that any human being can be so depraved that they think that’s an acceptable thing to do – to use women and children as political pawns,” Fernandes said.

Cyr was cites Axios saying he takes the backlash he’s received for his advocacy of migrants “in stride”.

“I’m trying to stay focused on my constituents to respond, to make sure these Venezuelan immigrants are treated with dignity and respect,” Cyr said, according to Axios.

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

Last week, DeSantis sparked a firestorm of criticism after he flew the migrants to Martha’s Vineyard on two chartered planes, in what immigrant advocates called a “shameful political stunt.”

A group of migrants filed a federal class-action lawsuit against DeSantis and other government officials on Tuesday, alleging they carried out a “scheme to defraud vulnerable immigrants to further a political motive.”

Lawyers representing most of the migrants have called on state and federal prosecutors to launch a criminal investigation into the situation.

The immigrants have since been moved 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 been through.”

“Some walked for 60 days just to reach the border followed by gang violence, some were robbed, others were physically injured,” said the deputy. “Don’t worry about my voicemail – what matters is the incredible distress these people went through.”

“And when they finally got here after going through all that, they were met with no human decency, they were met with lies and delivered and used,” he said. “We’re going to treat people like human beings here.”

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