What's next for the migrants flown to Martha's Vineyard

Lisa Belcastro says goodbye to the group of Venezuelan immigrants as they leave St. Andrews Parish House for Joint Base Cape Cod. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
Lisa Belcastro says goodbye to the group of Venezuelan immigrants as they leave St. Andrews Parish House for Joint Base Cape Cod. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

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The Steamship Authority's new ships won't be named "Jaws," "Boaty McBoatface" or any other fun suggestions. In my opinion, the M/V Aquinnah and M/V Monomoy are perfectly fine names, too. (But the one on the left definitely looks like a Boaty.)

For now, the roughly 50 migrants flown from Texas to Martha's Vineyard by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration remain at a temporary shelter at the military's Joint Base Cape Cod. But they're beginning the process of finding a more permanent home. State Sen. Julian Cyr, who represents the Cape and Islands, tells WBUR's Rob Lane that they're considering cities from Boston to Seattle. However, some are also thinking about a return to the Vineyard, where they received a warm welcome and forged bonds during their brief stay.

Cyr says the idea does present some challenges. For instance, there's not a ton of extra work this time of year, as the Vineyard enters its tourism offseason. There's also the question of if and when the migrants — who came to the country from South America seeking asylum — will be able to get work papers.

GBH News reports that immigration lawyers have been at Joint Base Cape Cod helping the group explore their options — including a type of visa reserved for victims of a crime. If they can make the case that people working for DeSantis illegally misled and trafficked the migrants, "the circumstances under which the migrants were brought to Massachusetts may be the very thing that helps them remain in the U.S.," GBH News reports. One pitfall is that the application process for these U-visas is slower.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told Radio Boston yesterday that the city — which has already seen a big uptick this summer in asylum-seeking families — would "love to host and be home" to any of the migrants flown to the Vineyard. She stressed that Boston will also need support from state and federal partners.

Boston wrapped up its slate of expanded Open Newbury and other open street days for the year this past weekend. But Wu says she hopes to bring those pedestrian-only days to "more places" in the future. That was another takeaway from Wu's wide-ranging interview yesterday on Radio Boston, which touched on everything from potholes, to the recent state primary election, to apple picking.

Listen to the full interview — or just read the highlights — here.

If you're voting by mail this fall, make sure to mail back your ballot at least one week before the Nov. 8 election if you want it to count. State officials say about one out of every 60 mail-in ballots cast during the Massachusetts state primary was rejected because it arrived late. In total, 11,412 mail-in ballots were rejected, including 8,070 that arrived after 8 p.m. on the Sept. 6 primary, according to Secretary of State Bill Galvin's office.

Voters have a little more wiggle room in the general election. Any ballot postmarked by Election Day (Nov. 8) will be accepted if it makes it to your election office by that Saturday (Nov. 12). Still, Galvin's office recommends returning your ballot in person or taking it to a drop box if it's less than a week before the election.

Other common reasons people had their mail-in ballots rejected? Over 1,000 forgot to sign their name, while 751 mailed their ballot back without the provided envelope.

Remember the recent, massively popular (if somewhat overwhelmed) COVID vaccine clinic in Boston that gave $75 Visa gift cards to anyone who got a shot? The city is doing it again this Saturday. Except this time, the gift cards will only be offered to those 18 and under — plus up to one caregiver who comes with them and gets a shot, too.

The clinic — which will again be at White Stadium in Franklin Park — is part of the city's effort to increase pediatric vaccination rates and close "persistent" racial disparities in kids' uptake of the shots.

After the previous clinic with $75 gift cards resulted in multi-hour lines, officials say this Saturday's event will have longer hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.), more staffing, better accommodations and designated lines for guests who register in advance.

P.S.— Want to see more angles of NASA's spacecraft hitting that asteroid? (I know I do.) This article has both the last images DART took before the collision on Monday, as well as a view of the crash from a telescope in Hawaii. An Italian satellite also got a couple sparkly photos. So, was the potentially world-saving test mission a success? We won't fully know for about two months.

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Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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