The 50 migrants who landed on Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts last week were shipped off the island so fast one local resident was left lamenting she didn’t have time to help.
“I wish that I had been more involved, that I had heard [about] it when it [the migrants’ arrival on the island] originally happened,” Joyce Dresser told Fox News Digital on Saturday as she sold books during a street festival in Oak Bluffs.
That island town is famous for its colorful “gingerbread house” Victorian homes.
Dresser said she learned of the newcomers’ arrival only hours after they landed.
By then, the illegal immigrants — most of them Venezuelan nationals — were already in the care of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown.
“I think in the long run these people are going to luck out,” she said. “They’re getting more services than they would have gotten down south.”
The migrants spent just 44 hours on Martha’s Vineyard before they were sent by ferry and bus to Joint Base Cape Cod on the Massachusetts mainland.
There, Gov. Charlie Baker activated 125 members of the National Guard to help provide services to the migrants.
“I’m very proud of what Martha’s Vineyard has done,” said Dresser.
“I’m hoping to get some clothes together, and hopefully they can distribute them; because they’re not dressed for New England,” she added.
The migrants were sent from Florida by Gov. Ron DeSantis to Martha’s Vineyard to highlight the plight faced by U.S. border towns and other southern communities that have been overwhelmed by illegal immigrants.
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More than 2.2 million people have illegally crossed into U.S. border towns through July of this year alone, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Massachusetts officials and residents said the six towns of Martha’s Vineyard, which include some of the wealthiest communities in the United States, did not have the ability to handle the strain on resources caused by the unexpected arrival of 50 migrants.
The Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce called it a “humanitarian crisis.”
“We have a major housing crisis as it is,” one local resident, Rachel Hines, who works for nonprofit Vineyard Preservation Trust, told Fox News Digital.
Another local resident, an artist known as “Z” Leach, said Martha’s Vineyard “is not the best place for them to start fresh.”
She added, “There’s no place to live here. Housing is bad,” she said.
Dresser, for her part, told Fox News Digital that if more migrants arrive, Martha’s Vineyard islanders will be ready to help again.
“I think [the islanders] did everything they could,” she said, referencing last week’s activity.
“I just wish I had been a part of it,” she said.
“It’s a very caring community and everybody pitches in when there’s a problem.”