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Massachusetts officials are asking citizens to consider opening their homes to illegal immigrants as the state scrambles to confront a dire shelter shortage.
The plea to residents came Wednesday, a day after Democratic Governor Maura Healey declared a state of emergency on the migrant crisis.
“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,” Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll said at a press conference Wednesday.
The Democrats of Massachusetts are now calling on people to house unvetted migrants.
Lt. Gov Kim Driscoll: "If you have an extra room or suite in your home, please consider hosting a family." pic.twitter.com/heJxdJIpZm
— Citizen Free Press (@CitizenFreePres) August 10, 2023
The governor touched on residents stepping up to help on Tuesday after she declared a state of emergency.
“This is a national issue that demands a national response,” Healey said during a press conference at the State House in Boston.
“In the meantime, we’re simply asking the federal government to use the tools already available to give these brave parents a chance to work and support their families. At the same time, we’re calling on everyone in Massachusetts to come together, help us meet this moment in our state, and offer a helping hand,” Healey said.
It is unclear whether any Massachusetts residents have responded to the state’s call and offered to house a migrant family in their home.
The state of emergency will expedite the process for creating or renting more migrant housing and allow the National Guard to quickly step in if necessary.
Healey said the state currently houses nearly 20,000 people, many of whom are illegal immigrants. More than 5,600 families are being sheltered, up from 3,100 families a year ago. Those in need of shelter include babies, young children, and pregnant women.
About 50 migrant families had arrived by plane from other states in the prior 48 hours alone, Healey said.
“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.”
Massachusetts has a 1983 “right-to-shelter” law on the books that requires the state to immediately house eligible families with children, regardless of shelter availability.
The governor blamed the slow pace of work authorizations, which she said can take months, as a significant driver of the crisis. Healey wrote to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking that migrants be cleared to work and asked for financial help from the federal government as well.
Earlier this year, migrants in Massachusetts started showing up at emergency rooms because they had nowhere to sleep for the night.
Leading up to the state of emergency declaration, Massachusetts took several other drastic steps to house migrants.
Last year, the state sheltered migrants in motels, empty college dorms, two new “welcome centers,” and on Cape Cod’s military base, which received the 49 migrants who arrived in Martha’s Vineyard from Florida last fall.
Many migrants from Haiti have chosen to head to Massachusetts, likely because Boston has a large Haitian population.
Other states and cities are also reeling from an influx of illegal immigrants needing shelter.
New York City is approaching a breaking point as it tries to metabolize the 55,000 migrants currently being housed on the city’s dime, causing New York’s homeless shelters to reach capacity.
On Monday, NYC Democratic Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan to house up to 2,000 adult migrants in a tent city on Randalls Island in the East River, saying it has become a “Herculean effort” to find enough shelter beds every night.