DE officials pledge help after plane carrying migrants is rumored to land in Georgetown
GEORGETOWN, Del. – Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and Governor John Carney’s office are vowing to help any migrants that may arrive in Delaware.
Preparing for Landing, Pledging Help
This comes after rumors began circulating on social media Monday night that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott were planning on sending a plane carrying migrants to Coastal Airport in Georgetown. Similarly, a flight carrying migrants from arrived in Martha’s Vineyard, and a bus with migrant passengers was sent to New York City last week.
DHSS Communications Director Jill Fredel told the press that neither Gov. DeSantis nor Gov. Abbott gave any prior notification to Delaware officials about the possibility of a plane carrying migrants being sent to Georgetown.
“We are here as a state to support the people who might arrive in Delaware. We’re prepared to offer them the services and support they need,” said Fredel. “I think the primary thing we want to offer is humanitarian aid and compassion. The people who may be coming to our state have already been through a very difficult journey. This will be another leg on that journey.”
Fredel says that help could come in the form of housing, food, clothing, medical assistance, or financial aid. She adds that the state is partnering with community non-profits and organizations to provide the aid. Plus, the state is centralizing donations to be sent to those organizations.
ACLU of Del. Weighs In
Executive Director of the ACLU of Delaware, Mike Brickner, is also pledging to help any migrants who might need legal assistance. “Many of these people may have immigration hearings in other parts of the country. We saw that happen with the folks in Martha’s Vineyard,” he said.
Brickner says beyond that, he is confident Delawareans will welcome the migrants with open arms, and hearts. Adding, between 2010 and 2020, Delaware saw a 10.5% increase in the LatinX population, and that more than 10% of Delawareans identify as Hispanic or LatinX.
“It still just feels so deeply heartbreaking that this is where we’re at in the political discourse, that politicians would exploit people who have come to this country seeking asylum from horrible political, economic, or social threats,” said Brickner. “We are a state that has a large number of immigrants already, and we are already a welcoming state. My expectation is that the vast majority of Delawareans are going to be very welcoming.”
Brickner adds that he believes an investigation is in order for Gov. DeSantis, saying that the governor’s actions amount to human trafficking. He also believes that Gov. DeSantis may be usurping the role of the federal government when it comes to immigration.
“A Political Stunt”
One of the folks waiting to welcome migrants at the airport was Rossana Arteaga-Lopenza of Casa de Venezuela Delaware. The organization works with Venezuelans in the First State to provide help and resources.
Arteaga-Lopenza says the transportation of migrants from Florida to other parts of the country is nothing more than a disturbing political stunt. She feels that the migrants are being used as pawns at the hands of American lawmakers pushing a political agenda.
“We shouldn’t be used as a political stunt. But, we are here to make them feel welcome and prepared,” said Arteaga-Lopenza. “They already did the hardest thing, which is to make the decision to flee their country and come to the United States.”
“What happens globally matters locally”
For years, Arteaga-Lopenza says Venezuelans in particular have been fleeing the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro. With Maduro’s rule, comes dangerous and even deadly environments for Venezuelans, according to Arteaga-Lopenza. She says often, migrants are fleeing from human trafficking, gang violence, and extreme poverty.
“It’s tragic. Venezuela has had different waves of immigration to the United States. First we had the wave of professionals, and people continuing for education. As the regime consolidated more power and were violating the human rights of Venezuelans, people started to flee,” said Arteaga-Lopenza. “People are fleeing the country by foot, literally. They used to go from Venezuela into Columbia, all the way into South America into Peru and Ecuador. But now, they are finding their way up to Central American and the Southern border.”
Arteaga-Lopenza warns that if adequate attention is not paid to the southern border crisis, those dangers could inch closer and closer to home. “Venezuela has connections with Russia, with Iran, with Turkey, with China. A lot of people don’t talk about what’s happening in the jungles in our country,” said Arteaga-Lopenza. “What happens globally matters locally, and this is one of the things that we’re seeing right now.”