Monday, September 19, 2022

What Martha's Vineyard tells us about immigration


Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' transportation of migrants -- most of whom reportedly are Venezuelan -- to Martha's Vineyard continues to be in the news.

In commentary for CNN, Daniela Gerson writes that Martha's Vineyard, "off the coast of Massachusetts[,] is more accustomed than many places in the United States to welcoming an influx of South Americans. Not Venezuelans, but Brazilians. And not asylum-seekers lacking connections dropped from the sky, but labor migrants who follow friends and family across multiple countries. Indeed, for decades Martha’s Vineyard has been a microcosm of much of our national hypocrisy with regard to immigration laws – violations that cross party lines. It’s also been a story of what immigrants contribute to communities when provided an opportunity.

Thirteen years ago, Gerson wrote an article for the Financial Times, “How migration transformed Martha’s Vineyard.”   In that article, she noted that "[r]eplacing the mostly white college students who used to paint houses, make beds and party, thousands of Brazilians began arriving [at Martha's Vineyard] in the 1990s, prepared to work harder and reliably show up in the morning. By 2007, about 1 out of 3 children born on the island had a Brazilian mother, according to Massachusetts health data."


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