The Delaware airport can receive planes carrying migrants. What we know

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The Delaware governor’s office and local community groups are mobilizing for the possibility of migrants arriving in Georgetown without notice on Tuesday, as a plane is scheduled to leave Texas and land at Delaware’s coastal airport later in the day.

While the plane did not leave Texas by 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Gov. John Carney’s spokeswoman, Emily David Hershman, said the governor’s office is aware of the reports and preparing for the potential arrival.

“Our teams of [Delaware Emergency Management Agency] and [Delaware Department of Health and Social Services] are working with community organizations and other partners to ensure that migrants who arrive here receive the support they need,” Hershman said.

It comes after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis flew 48 Venezuelans from San Antonio airport to Martha’s Vineyard in two private planes last week. A Texas sheriff then announced on Monday that he had opened an investigation into the legality of the thefts, according to the Associated Press.

US Senator Ted Cruz tweeted earlier this week that Rehoboth Beach would be a potential destination for the influx of people crossing the border, especially since President Joe Biden has a vacation home in North Shores near Rehoboth.

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While the plane was still listed as “planned” on multiple flight trackers at 11 a.m., the flight path appears to start in Texas and stop in Crestview, Florida before reaching Delaware.

At Bob Sikes Airport in Crestview on Tuesday morning, local reporters noticed a larger than usual police presence, with about 10 deputies crowding around the airport campus.

Bruce Bowman, vice president and general counsel of Emerald Coast Aviation – the airport’s fixed base operator – insisted nothing was out of the ordinary.

“We have sheriff’s deputies here all the time,” Bowman said. “We have a special task force to protect the airport.”

Contacted by a reporter earlier on Tuesday, Bowman insisted he knew nothing of the expected arrival.

Bowman denied a USA TODAY NETWORK-FLORIDA news crew access to the Emerald Coast Aviation building or access to the airport tarmac to photograph the arrival of the plane which was due to arrive from Texas.

“You can shoot through the fence,” he said

After Florida, the flight must land at the Delaware coastal airport in Georgetown.

Locals are quick to point out that the airport is still 20 miles west of Biden’s home in Rehoboth Beach, and those leading nonprofit and community service efforts said it’s straining resources already exhausted.

“Not at all the optics I think they were looking for in southern Delaware – dumping on the doorstep of Georgetown is a far cry from Biden’s beach house – and those of us who live here really know how bad it is – on every level,” community organizer Jen Mason said in an email.

While the potential target destination for would-be migrants may be Rehoboth Beach, a liberal enclave in otherwise conservative Sussex County, Georgetown has one of the largest Hispanic and Latino populations in the state.

In the city of about 7,500 people, more than 40% of residents are Hispanic and Latino. Throughout Sussex County there are large swathes of immigrant populations, particularly Latinos and Haitians, many of whom work for local chicken farmers.

At the Delaware coastal airport, it was Tuesday morning as usual. Employees at the small county-owned airport said they knew the plane was coming and had heard the rumors, but had no idea who or what was on board.

Georgetown Mayor Bill West and Councilwoman Christine Diaz-Malone were also awaiting confirmation by phone. State Representative Ruth Briggs King said Tuesday morning that she received a call last night from someone she worked with in the governor’s office asking for ideas for housing resources.

“We’ve all heard a lot but I haven’t seen anything official,” she said when reached by phone.

How is the community preparing?

As nonprofit and community groups organized on Tuesday, churches were on high alert, according to Elizabeth Kaeton, pastor of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.

“If that happens, we are going to be as generous as possible and do exactly what Jesus told us to do, which is to love our neighbor as we love ourselves,” she said. .

According to community leaders, local nonprofit organizations in Georgetown are now providing information to interpreters and case managers. The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware is asking anyone who wants to help to donate to Sussex County organizations such as La Esperanza and the First State Community Action Agency.

Mike Brickner, executive director of the ACLU Delaware, said the organization has been working with state officials and other community groups to coordinate a response since Monday evening.

“It’s cruel and immoral,” Brickner said.

Acknowledging previous thefts to Martha’s Vineyard, the ACLU director denounced DeSantis for “taking advantage of people who have traveled across multiple countries…just trying to make a better life for themselves.”

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Considering the governors of Texas and Florida have sent migrants to other politically notable locations like the US vice president’s home, it’s still possible that arrivals will arrive closer to Biden’s home in Rehoboth.

Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills said in a written statement Monday afternoon that the city is “aware of this situation and is actively reaching out to partners to be as prepared as possible should this situation occur.”

Those partners include officials from state and federal agencies, as well as community service organizations, according to city spokeswoman Lynne Coan.

A Sussex County government spokesperson referred a Delaware Online reporter to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

This spring, Texas Governor Greg Abbott began sending migrants who volunteered to accept a bus ride to Washington, D.C. Migrants were also sent to New York and Chicago.

DeSantis, who many believe will run for president in 2024, sent migrants to Martha’s Vineyard, a wealthy area where former President Barack Obama vacationed, though the small island is unaware and unaware. be unprepared for them. The Governor of Florida has also publicly stated that Delaware could be next.

The migrants were falsely told that jobs and housing would await them when they arrived at Martha’s Vineyard, attorneys and immigration attorneys told USA TODAY reporters.

The areas where these people are sent have not been prepared for the migrants. In Martha’s Vineyard, high school students acted as translators. In Washington, DC, Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a public emergency as a result and created an Office of Migrant Services.

WHY THIS HAPPENSVenezuelans emigrate to the United States and now to Martha’s Vineyard: “Out of desperation”

New York Mayor Eric Adams said last week that the city’s homeless shelter system was “nearing breaking point” due to the influx of 11,000 migrants who were sent to the largest city in the country. New York requires every homeless person to have a bed to sleep in.

Many of these migrants are Venezuelan and part of a global diaspora of millions who have left the country to escape a depressed economy and dictatorial rule amid power outages, lack of access to reliable water, runaway inflation and political unrest.

This is a developing story. Check back with Delaware Online for more updates.

Delaware Online reporters Shannon Marvel McNaught, Hannah Edelman and Meredith Newman contributed to this report. Pensacola News Journal reporter Tom McLaughlin and photographer Devon Ravine of the Northwest Florida Daily News also contributed.

Emily Lytle covers Sussex County, from inland towns to beaches, with a focus on health issues. Got a story she should tell? Contact her at [email protected] or 302-332-0370. Follow her on Twitter at @emily3lytle.

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