A State on the Edge
Democratic Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey is pulling out all the stops. On Thursday, she activated up to 250 National Guard troops to handle the escalating migrant crisis in the Bay State.
Last month, Healey sounded the alarm, declaring a state of emergency as waves of asylum-seekers swamped Massachusetts’ shelters. With a price tag of $45 million per month, the situation has turned dire for the state’s coffers.
Finger-Pointing at the Feds
In a scathing letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Healey didn’t mince words. She squarely laid the blame on “federal policies on immigration and work authorization,” “inadequate production of affordable housing,” and the cessation of “COVID-era food and housing security programs.”
“Federal policies on immigration and work authorization,” “inadequate production of affordable housing,” and the cessation of “COVID-era food and housing security programs.” Healey declared.
In the face of these challenges, Healey’s administration has been encouraging residents to step up. Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll urged, “Most importantly, if you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family. Housing and shelter is our most pressing need and become a sponsor family.”
Mobilizing the Guard
Governor Healey disclosed on Thursday that the National Guard will shoulder several responsibilities at hotel shelters. These include coordination of food, basic amenities, medical care, and transport. Additionally, they’ll aid in enrolling migrant children in schools.
Presently, Massachusetts is grappling with housing over 6,000 families in emergency shelters. According to Healey, this number is swelling, and the state is struggling to cope.
Major General Gary W. Keefe, the state’s adjutant general, framed the National Guard’s role expansively: “Our role in the response to the ongoing housing crisis will expand to leverage our multitude of robust and adaptable capabilities in emergency and domestic operations to help those in need.”
All Hands on Deck
Both the administration and the National Guard aim to create rapid response teams. These units will manage existing shelters and prepare new ones for launch.
Healey noted, “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.”
She continued, “We’re grateful to the brave men and women of the National Guard for stepping up to help us ensure that every family in emergency shelter has their needs met, including access to food, transportation, medical care, and education.”