Community was ready for migrants that didn’t arrive

Report of Sept. 20 flight attracts dozens of media outlets to Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown
September 20, 2022

Update: 8 p.m.: After the plane changed its flight plan and traveled to Nashville, it continued to its original final destination of Teterboro, N.J., landing just after 6:30 p.m. WNYC, a New York public radio station, reported that no migrants were on board. 


Update 2:45 p.m.: A new flight plan has been set for Flight UE11 that no longer includes Delaware Coastal Airport; however, the original flight plan remains on The plane is en route to John C. Tune Airport in Nashville, Tenn. 

At a press conference at Delaware Coastal Airport Sept. 20, Jill Fredel, Delaware of Health and Social Services communications director, said no one has contacted governor’s office. She said the state is prepared to welcome visitors and meet their immediate needs if they arrive, including food, shelter, medical treatment and transportation. She would not disclose where they would be taken if they arrive. 


Original story: Community leaders are scrambling to organize an effort to provide aid for Venezuelan migrants that may be headed to Delaware from Texas. 

Early Sept. 20, flight plan for a chartered flight from East Texas Regional Airport began to alert many that a plane full of migrants was headed to Delaware. The flight plan had the plane landing in San Antonio, before heading to Crestview, Fla. From there, the plane is scheduled to fly to Delaware Coastal Airport in Georgetown, where it is was original set to land about 1:30 p.m., then later changed to 2:47 p.m. The flight plan changed about 2:30 p.m., however, with Delaware Coastal Airport withdrawn. The latest flight plan has the plane flying to Nashville before leaving for the original final destination of Teterboro, N.J., which is just outside New York City. 

Although it remains unknown if the plane contains migrants or if they’ll be dropped off in Georgetown, area community members are beginning to mobilize to welcome any arrivals who may need assistance to Delaware. 

Emily David, spokeswoman for Gov. John Carney, said they are aware of the possibility that migrants may arrive in Delaware. “Our teams at DEMA and DHSS are working with community organizations and other partners to make sure that migrants who arrive here have the support that they need. We are coordinating with federal officials and are prepared to welcome these families in an orderly manner as they pursue their asylum claims,” she said.

In an email to Cape Region groups, Diane Batchik, an executive committee member with Lutheran Immigration and Refuge Service, asked for help. She said she’s coming to Delaware with care bags and diapers provided by New Hope Lutheran Church in Columbia, Md., as well as cases of water and sign-making supplies. She asked others to find Spanish-speaking community members to communicate with migrants. She also asked that groups provide food, medical and accommodations support. 

A final request was: “Your voices and connections and presence to make a point that Delaware is a welcoming place, and that hate has no place here for such political stunts being played on human beings.” 

Jo Allegro-Smith, executive director of Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach, said in an email that her organization could provide food and baby items from its food rescue and baby pantry. She added that CRC’s job center could be helpful in identifying employment opportunities and may be able to help with financial assistance for first month's rent if they can secure a unit/room. Motel accommodations would be difficult in the Rehoboth area because the extended tourist season limits the availability of rooms, she said. 

If migrants are dropped off in Georgetown, it won’t come as a complete surprise. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis sent 48 Venezuelan people to Martha's Vineyard on two private planes last week. 

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted earlier this week that Rehoboth Beach would be a future destination, especially since President Joe Biden has a vacation home in North Shores.

Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Check back for updates throughout the day. The article has been edited to reflect changing departure and arrival times. 

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