Massachusett governor declares state of emergency amid influx of migrants seeking shelter

Aug 8, 2023, 1:56 PM

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency Tuesday, citing an influx of migrants seeking shelter at a time when the cost of housing — already in short supply — continues to rise.

There are nearly 5,600 families or more than 20,000 individuals – many of whom are migrants — currently living in state shelters, including infants, young children and pregnant women. That is up from around 3,100 families a year ago, about an 80 percent increase, Healey said.

Many of the migrants are arriving by plane from other states. In the past 48 hours alone, she said, 50 migrant families have landed in the state in need of shelter.

“It’s exponentially more than our state has ever served in our emergency assistance program,” she said. “These numbers are being driven by a surge in new arrivals in our country who have been through some of the hardest journeys imaginable.”

The migrants arriving in Massachusetts are the face of the international migrant crisis and are coming at a time when the state is already experiencing a housing crunch, Healey said.

She called on the federal government for financial help, and more urgently, expedited work authorizations to allow the new arrivals to more quickly find jobs and start earning a living, she wrote in a letter to U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.

In the letter, Healey pointed to work authorizations as a primary driver of the crisis. Currently, she said, it can take weeks, months or more than a year to receive the authorizations.

“Our new arrivals are most eager to work. The last thing they want is to be dependent,” she said.

As part of the emergency declaration, Healey said she is renewing a call to local organizations that can assist those seeking shelter as well as to individuals interested in sponsoring a family in their home.

The state has also launched a new migrant relief fund to help raise money to aid migrants.

The contributions will be used to help pay for a range of goods and services for migrants, including food, clothing, diapers and transportation as well as health screenings, translation services, legal assistance and English classes.

As a right-to-shelter state, Massachusetts is legally required to provide eligible families shelter through its emergency assistance program.

Geralde Gabeau, executive director of the Immigrant Family Services Institute, has worked with immigrants arriving from Haiti and said they are ready to get to work.

“The new families coming to our communities are wonderful human beings,” she said. “They are ready to work. They are ready to contribute to our economies.”

Healey and state lawmakers should rescind the state’s right-to-shelter policy, said Paul Diego Craney of the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative group.

“Perhaps it is time for the governor to take a trip to the southern border to see firsthand the open southern border crisis,” he said in a statement.

More than 80 cities and towns across the state have already felt the impact of new migrants and support the emergency declatarion, said Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

“Community leaders want state and federal agencies to step in to provide these families with the services and support they need to be safe and healthy,” he said.

Other states have faced challenges with soaring numbers of migrants.

On Monday, New York Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan to house as many as 2,000 migrants on an island in the East River where a migrant center was set up last year and then taken down weeks later.

Some states led by Republicans — including Texas and Florida — have bused or flown immigrants to states and cities led by Democrats, including California, Massachusetts. New York and Chicago.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last year flew 49 Venezuelan migrants to the upscale Massachusetts enclave of Martha’s Vineyard.

United States News

Tampa Bay Rays owner Stuart Sternberg addresses the audience during a Rays press conference in the ...

Associated Press

City council vote could enable a new Tampa Bay Rays ballpark — and the old site’s transformation

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A key city council vote Thursday on a major redevelopment project in St. Petersburg could pave the way to give baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays a new ballpark, which would guarantee the team stays for at least 30 years. The $6.5 billion project, supporters say, would transform an 86-acre (34-hectare) tract […]

1 minute ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump attends the first day of the Republ...

Associated Press

Too soon for comedy? After attempted assassination of Trump, US politics feel anything but funny

Political jokes: too soon? The answer from many quarters at midweek was a resounding yes, days after an assassination attempt against Republican former president Donald Trump rattled the nation over political violence that has been brewing in the United States for decades. Several late-night shows that thrive on political comedy changed plans immediately, with Comedy […]

4 minutes ago

Gov. Doug Burgum, R-ND., speaks during the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 17, 20...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: A look at Biden’s economic policies related to rising prices

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden’s economic policies have been slammed by several speakers at the Republican National Conference. But some of the criticism was off base. Here’s a look at the facts. ___ North Carolina Gov. Doug Burgum on the economy: “Biden’s red tape has raised the price of the gas in your car, […]

21 minutes ago

Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. JD Vance, R-Ohio, speaks during the Republican National...

Associated Press

JD Vance introduces himself as Trump’s running mate and makes direct appeal to his native Rust Belt

JD Vance used his Wednesday night address to the Republican National Convention to make the case that his party best understands the challenges facing struggling Americans.

40 minutes ago

Gold Star family members on stage during the Republican National Convention on Wednesday, July 17, ...

Associated Press

Families of service members killed during Afghanistan withdrawal criticize Biden at GOP convention

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Relatives of some of the 13 American service members killed during the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan appeared on stage at the Republican National Convention Wednesday in an emotional moment that revived one of the low points of President Joe Biden’s presidency. Many of the Gold Star families have criticized Biden for never […]

2 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

Sponsored Articles



Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Massachusett governor declares state of emergency amid influx of migrants seeking shelter