I went to the bus terminal. I lasted there four days. There was a lady who gave us breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, thank God. She helped some of us with the fare to San Antonio. At the terminal, there were some girls in blue vests who took us to a free shelter, but they offered us only three days of lodging. I started sleeping outside the shelter near a McDonald’s. I still hadn’t made enough money for the ticket to go to Philadelphia. My only goal was to show up on September 28 for my immigration hearing.
Then, on September 8 — Thursday — a lady named Perla appeared. She said she could take 50 people to sanctuary states. She wore cowboy boots and had highlights in her hair. She spoke English and Spanish. They said they would give us work and housing for 90 days. And the migration papers, she said she was going to change it herself. She said she would change the address to where we were going to be taken.
Of course we said yes. But that day she didn’t take anybody, so we were left wondering. Then on the 10th, a Saturday, at half past two in the afternoon, Perla came back with two vans. Everything was done behind the McDonald’s. She took us to a hotel, and during the course of the weekend, she started to bring more people, until she’d picked up 50 people.
On Wednesday, we left at 5:30 in the morning. Perla told us we were going to Massachusetts, to Boston. I thought, Well, I’ll be six hours away from Philadelphia. Perla said, “Don’t worry, I will arrange everything for you. You’re going to make your court date in Philadelphia.” She formed two groups because there were two airplanes. They were small, exclusive private planes. Onboard, they gave us cookies, soft drinks. The flight attendant was very attentive.
Everyone was kind to us because it was all a hoax. When we landed in Martha’s Vineyard, there was a black van waiting for us. The van took us to a house and the driver said, “There’s a doorbell. Ring it. They are waiting for you there.” When we rang the doorbell, a lady came out, and we told her, “Here we are. We’ve arrived.” The lady asked, “Who are you?” and we told her, “The gentleman brought us. He said to ring the doorbell.” But when we turned around, the black van was gone.
We told the lady, “We’re from Venezuela. We came from Mrs. Perla.” We were terrified. We thought they would take us to jail or deport us. Many of us cried.
On the plane, they had given us some red folders with a map, and we looked at the map and realized that we were surrounded by sea, that we were on an island. There was no bridge; there was nothing. How do we get out of here? Do we have to leave by ferry or in a private plane like we got here? We were so scared. Then a gentleman came out speaking Spanish. He told us that we should not worry, that they were going to look for a solution.
It was 3:30 in the afternoon, but the weather was cold. I didn’t have a sweater; I didn’t have a coat. They took us to a school, where they gave us food, and then they took us to a church in the center of town — the center of the island, I imagine.
Among other things, this is an eloquent response to the cynics and dumb-dumbs who supported DeSantis’s fraud by acting as if the immigrants wanted to relocate to an isolated island without even bridge access to the mainland and hence residents who helped them get to where they actually preferred to be were big hypocrites nyuk nyuk:
For more constructive reading, Dana Lind has a really good piece about how DeSantis and Abbott are effectively claiming that all asylum claims are illegitimate, without proposing any actual policy solutions because Republicans don’t do that anymore.