FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 16, 2022
Contact: Adrienne J. Vaughan, Chair, American Immigration Lawyer’s Association’s New England Chapter at [email protected]
AILA New England’s Statement on Developments on Martha’s Vineyard
The transport of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts by Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis is a cruel and despicable act that disregards the value of both human life and of the immigration laws. DeSantis’ treatment of migrants through deceit is not only reprehensible – it is unlawful. The American Immigration Lawyers Association’s New England Chapter denounces the exploitation of vulnerable people as political pawns.
Media reports’ portrayal of these migrants as “illegals” is completely incorrect. U.S. immigration laws protect the rights of individuals to seek asylum through proper channels. Under the law, after initial processing and initial review of an asylum claim, the Department of Homeland Security may release migrants from federal custody so that they may pursue asylum claims.
We applaud the efforts of the people of Martha’s Vineyard, and New England generally, in rushing to the aid of these vulnerable individuals. AILA New England supports the migrants who are victims of this political stunt. AILA New England supports its volunteer member attorneys who have traveled to Martha’s Vineyard to triage this situation as well as those who will, in the coming months, be continuing to provide legal counsel to these migrants. Local organizations have also been indispensable in these efforts, and we would like to express our profound gratitude for their continued support and humanity.
Let’s use this event as an opportunity to discuss where our immigration system needs improvement. We can do better, and we must do better. The federal government must allocate resources to build and reinforce the infrastructure to better serve people seeking asylum.