Migrant group sheltering on Martha’s Vineyard moves to Joint Base Cape Cod

The individuals who have been in temporary shelter on Martha’s Vineyard are now moving to Joint Base Cape Cod. (Eve Zuckoff/ CAI)

The group of about 50 migrants who have been in temporary shelter on Martha’s Vineyard has moved to Joint Base Cape Cod. The move is voluntary. The group traveled by bus and ferry, surrounded by media.

Around 10 o’clock this morning, teary migrants hugged volunteers, took selfies, and gave thanks to those who supported them during their two-night stay at the Edgartown shelter.

They boarded buses in donated Edgartown police sweatshirts and Vineyard hockey t-shirts carrying duffle bags, suitcases, and pillows. Families brought games for their children.

Lisa Belcastro, who oversees the shelter on Martha’s Vineyard, was emotional as she said farewell. She said they will be forever in her heart.

“I want them to come to America and be embraced,” Belcastro said. “They all want to work. And I just I want their journey to have a happy ending.”

The migrants are now at Joint Base Cape Cod, where officials saying they’re being met with access to healthcare, mental health services, education, and immigration attorneys.

The Base is a designated emergency shelter in Barnstable County. An announcement by the state on the move came this morning. It cites the Base facility as offering “accommodation appropriate for the needs of families and children.”

The group spent the previous two nights at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Edgartown. That space sometimes serves as a temporary homeless shelter for as many as 12 people. It has only a single shower.

The group traveled via the MV Governor on Friday. Then then made their way to Joint Base Cape Cod. (Liz Lerner/ CAI)

Public word of the move came this morning. The migrant group seemed in upbeat spirits as they packed for the bus ride to the ferry, pausing outside to take a group photo, and exchanging hugs with the volunteers from the Vineyard who have helped staff the shelter.

The Vineyard response to the arrival of the migrants has been an outpouring of support, said Belcastro, who called the flood of donations, which overflowed the shelter’s capacity, “amazing.”

This story was originally published by CAI Cape and Islands, a partner of the New England News Collaborative.