Immigrant assistance program leader responds to migrants being sent to Martha’s Vineyard


Migrants eating after being flown to martha's Vineyard by Gov. Ron DeSantis. Credit: Tampa Bay Now

A leader of a local organization that helps immigrants in Florida is responding to Gov. Ron DeSantis’s recent decision to fly migrants to Martha’s Vineyard.

The move by the governor has brought political controversy surrounding illegal immigration.

“Ron DeSantis says he’s the boss. He can say that. He’s the boss. I can only tell him that we need to work together to make it the best Florida,” said Isaret Jeffers, leader of Colectivo Arbol.

Jeffers founded the organization Colectivo Arbol to help immigrants find jobs and get food, clothing and shelter.

“They don’t have food, they have nothing because people come to the U.S.A because there are a lot of opportunities here,” said Jeffers.

She says her organization gives people jobs on farms and helps them support themselves and their families in other countries.

“We come to work hard, we are working in the field. We’re working in construction. We show the other immigrants what the system is here,” said Jeffers.

Governor Ron DeSantis sent roughly 50 migrants to an island in Massachusetts Wednesday night. He defended his decision on Thursday, saying illegal immigration is a serious issue at southern border states.

“We are not a sanctuary state and it’s better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction and yes, we will help facilitate that transport for you to be able to go to greener pastures,” said DeSantis.

But Jeffers disagrees with the move.

“They send you to another place. Come on. That’s not good,” said Jeffers.

She says there are a lot of organizations in Florida that aim to specifically help immigrants become established.

“We can work together with him,” said Jeffers.

She says Florida is a good place for immigrants to adjust to society because of its large Spanish-speaking population, but other states may not have as many people who speak the language.

“Nobody can go to the police, or to the hospitals, or nowhere because people speak Spanish and these people don’t speak English. It’s hard for us,” said Jeffers.

Jeffers says she will continue to lend a helping hand to any immigrant in need.

“Everybody we are immigrants here. Everybody. Mexicans, everybody. White people too. Before everybody was immigrants,” said Jeffers.


by Casey Albritton

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