Democratic Governor of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, announced a state of emergency on Tuesday due to the influx of migrants entering her heavily Democratic state. This situation is putting pressure on emergency services. Healey called on the federal government to increase assistance to address this crisis, which she argues has led to a significant shortage of available shelters.
“I am declaring a state of emergency in Massachusetts and urging my partners in the federal government to take the action we need to address this crisis by streamlining the work authorization process and passing comprehensive immigration reform,” she said.
As per statements from state authorities, there are currently approximately 5,600 families, totaling over 20,000 individuals, residing in shelters within the commonwealth.
“Many of these families are migrants to Massachusetts, drawn here because we are and proudly have been a beacon to those in need,” Healey expressed in a message to Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security. She then proceeded to request that the Biden administration eliminate the onerous obstacles preventing individuals from obtaining work authorizations, tackle the antiquated and punitive immigration regulations, and supply essential financial aid to support states like Massachusetts in dealing with this nationwide concern.
The state of Massachusetts’ announcement mirrors comparable declarations made by the state of New York and the metropolis of Chicago in the past few months.
At present, migrants who are in the process of awaiting asylum decisions are eligible to receive work permits in the United States, although they are required to wait for a period of five months before applying, as outlined by the Immigration Reform Law Institute. After an additional 30 days, work permits can be granted, although delays often occur.
Massachusetts stands alone among the states in having a “right-to-shelter” legislation in effect, ensuring that homeless families are provided with accommodation, regardless of their citizenship status within the US.
While Mayor Eric Adams of New York City attempted to halt the city’s obligation to provide shelter in May, Healey conveyed to Boston reporters on Tuesday that she had never intended to terminate, nor possessed the authority to terminate, the right-to-shelter commitment within the state.
In the meantime, Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll encouraged residents of Massachusetts to contemplate the option of welcoming migrants into their homes. She stated, “This is not a crisis that our family shelter system was designed to handle. For months now, state government and our providers have been doing the work of stretching the system as far as it can safely go. But we really need to bring more people into this work to make it a true team effort.”
Massachusetts authorities have requested a federal inquiry into the surge of migrants, a move criticized by numerous Democrats as a mere ploy.