Massachusetts forced to deploy National Guard to deal with migrant crisis: 'This is an emergency!'

Massachusetts forced to deploy National Guard to deal with migrant crisis: 'This is an emergency!'

The Massachusetts National Guard have been officially deployed to tackle the state's overcrowded migrant shelters

Reuters
Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler


Published: 14/09/2023

- 15:04

Pressure is growing on President Joe Biden to tackle the crisis

The Massachusetts National Guard have been officially deployed to tackle the state's overcrowded migrant shelters.

As pressure mounts on President Joe Biden to tackle the crisis, "rapid response teams" have been brought in after a state of emergency was declared several weeks ago.


A total of 250 members will be deployed to help ease the situation.

"Massachusetts is in a state of emergency, and we need all hands-on deck to meet this moment and ensure families have access to safe shelter and basic services," Democrat Gov Maura Healey said in a statement.

Joe Biden

As pressure mounts on President Joe Biden to tackle the crisis, "rapid response teams" have been brought in after a state of emergency was declared several weeks ago

Reuters

More than 6,000 migrants families are housed in emergency shelters across the state as Massachusetts must provide emergency housing to families in need.

Around 40 hotels and motels that have do not have service providers will see National Guard members arrive to coordinate access to meals, medical care and transportation.

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said Tuesday: "The plan that we have in place today with the deployment of the National Guard, which happened just last month, will put National Guard staff, soldiers, in locations as part of a response to our non-service providers.

"Essentially creating rapid response teams in places that we don’t have the ground service contractors or case management services happening on a regular basis."

On a daily basis, between 20 and 35 families seek shelter in Massachusetts, with numbers reaching as high as 55 families which "creates an immediate need to try and find spaces."

"All of our typical emergency shelter sites were filled a month ago," Driscoll told Boston 25 News.

"That means we’re filling in trying to find locations."

A state of emergency was declared in August, when Healey calling for more funding and help from the federal government.

'Massachusetts is in a state of emergency, and we need all hands-on deck to meet this moment and ensure families have access to safe shelter and basic services', Democrat Gov Maura Healey said in a statement

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In a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, she wrote: "Many of these families are migrants to Massachusetts, drawn here because we are and proudly have been a beacon to those in need."

She also blamed "a confusing tangle of immigration laws, an inability for migrants to obtain work authorisation from the federal government, an increase in the number of people coming to Massachusetts, and the lack of an affordable housing supply in our state."

Boston received a $1.9 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help migrants with shelter and transportation.

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