Massachusetts governor activates National Guard after declaring state of emergency over migrant crisis

News & Politics

Democratic Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey announced on Thursday a plan to activate up to 250 National Guard members to help tackle the migrant crisis.

Last month, Healey declared a state of emergency due to the surge of asylum-seeking migrants overwhelming Massachusetts’ shelter system. Healey previously reported that migrant programs are costing the state $45 million per month.

In a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, Healey vented her frustrations regarding the Biden administration’s insufficient support. She blamed the influx of migrants seeking shelter on “numerous factors, among them federal policies on immigration and work authorization” as well as “inadequate production of affordable housing over the last decade, and the end of COVID-era food and housing security programs.”

In conjunction with the emergency order announcement in August, Healey also encouraged Massachusetts residents to offer their homes to migrants.

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“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,” Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll said last month.

On Thursday, Healey announced the deployment of up to 250 Massachusetts National Guard members to assist at hotel shelters by coordinating services, including food, basic needs, transportation, and medical care. They will also help migrant families enroll children in school.

According to Healey, there are currently over 6,000 families being housed in emergency shelters across the state.

Major General Gary W. Keefe, adjutant general for the Massachusetts National Guard, stated, “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.”

Healey’s administration and the National Guard will work to create regional rapid response teams that will oversee existing sites and prepare new sites for opening.

“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,” Healey said in a statement.

“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,” she continued. “While we work to implement a more permanent staffing solution, the National Guard will provide an efficient and effective means of delivering these services and keeping everybody safe.”

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