Politics

Phil Scott doesn’t expect unannounced migrants but makes ‘contingency plans’

Gov. Phil Scott discusses the importance of broadband connectivity to Vermonters at a press conference in Montpelier on Monday, Nov. 1, 2021. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

Last week, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis made headlines when he arranged to fly dozens of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in an apparent political publicity stunt. 

In response to a question at his weekly press conference Wednesday, Gov. Phil Scott said that while he didn’t anticipate unexpected migrants, “we are working on contingency plans.”

“We want to welcome as many people as we can into the state. We think that's part of the answer,” he said. “But we'd like to have a little bit of lead time in order to accomplish that.”

Pressed further about the nature of those plans, Scott pointed to possible emergency housing options.

There are “a number of different areas that we're looking at, whether it's in some of our campuses that have closed, and whether it's some of the existing campuses that might have some space, as well as other initiatives that we have,” he said. 

According to The New York Times, migrants in San Antonio were told they would be brought to Boston, and had not expected to arrive in Martha’s Vineyard. Many had fled Venezuela, seeking refuge in the United States.  

Texas Gov. Greg Abbot has acted similarly throughout the year. Texas Monthly has reported that Abbot, beginning in April, has transported “thousands” of migrants and asylum seekers on buses to northern cities such as Washington, D.C., Chicago and New York City.

“We don’t believe they will target Vermont,” Scott said. “We’re putting plans together in order to be prepared.”

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