The Deputy Governor of Massachusetts, Kim Driscoll, has called on locals with extra room to accommodate migrants. This follows the state’s declaration of an emergency due to the significant increase in migrants and resulting shortage of shelters.
In a recent briefing, Driscoll appealed to residents, suggesting they “consider opening their homes if they can accommodate another family.”
The move has been met with both criticism and support, with some referencing Massachusetts’ origins as a settlement for European immigrants.
Following a sharp rise in the number of migrants, the state has disclosed that about 5,600 families, or approximately 20,000 individuals, including children and expecting mothers, are currently housed in state shelters. This is a considerable increase from the 3,100 families recorded last year.
Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey mentioned that the current shelter system was overwhelmed and pointed out the declining rate at which families leave shelters, attributing this to limited affordable housing and employment obstacles. In a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, Healey linked the state’s challenges to federal immigration policies, insufficient affordable housing, and the cessation of certain Covid-19 relief programs.
Healey urged Mayorkas to solicit Congress for effective legislation and to exercise executive authority to alleviate job-seeking barriers for migrants.
The Department of Homeland Security confirmed the provision of $2.8 million in aid to Boston and reiterated the Biden administration’s commitment to work closely with local authorities and its call for extensive immigration reform.
Currently, 1,800 migrant families are living in hotels due to the high demand for shelter space. The state is also allocating over $45 million monthly towards migrant assistance programs.
Driscoll further encouraged various stakeholders, including landlords, hotel owners, and local officials, to contribute to the cause by offering spaces or properties for emergency accommodation.
In recent times, other areas, including New York State, Chicago, and New York City, have declared emergencies due to migrant surges. New York City Mayor Eric Adams emphasized the need for national dialogue and action on the issue.
On social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, responses varied. Conservative strategist Eric Spracklen criticized the decision sharply, while other users made historical references to the state’s past.
In her letter to Mayorkas, Healey emphasized that the main challenge in Massachusetts was the inability of many migrants to find employment, noting their strong desire to work and contribute.