Two planes land, and an island springs to help

EDGARTOWN — On Wednesday morning, Lisa Belcastro woke up at 4 a.m. to go fishing. After a long day on the water, Belcastro, who runs a homeless shelter on the island, got a call: Two charter planes had just arrived at Martha’s Vineyard airport carrying nearly 50 migrants. Belcastro’s day was about to get a lot longer.

She sprang into action alongside dozens of islanders who were suddenly thrust into a new and startling chapter in the nation’s long-running political war over immigration.

The day was equally long for the migrants. But their ordeal began much earlier, their lengthy journey made under sometime agonizing circumstances before landing in the care of an island community unprepared for their arrival, but unstinting in their response.

Most of the migrants were from Venezuela, had crossed the border into Texas, and were staying at a migrant center in San Antonio. There, several of them said, they met a woman named Mrs. Perla who offered them three months of rent and work, in Boston.

After a few days in a hotel, the group — mostly young men in their 20s and 30s and a few families with children — boarded two planes in San Antonio that hop-scotched up the East Coast, stopping briefly in Florida and North and South Carolina. During those legs of the flight, the migrants said, they were again told their final destination was Boston.

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