Kamal Suton, Daily Mail, November 18, 2023
A group of migrants have been forced to move into Boston’s Logan Airport as the ‘sanctuary city’ has run out of beds for them to sleep in.
The party of up to 20 people, which includes babies, was seen sleeping underneath blankets on benches on Friday.
They arrived in Boston as the Massachusetts shelter cap reached its maximum and there is deadlock over how best to spend $250million for emergency shelters.
Those migrants have been put on a waiting list after the state’s system for emergency accommodation hit a cap of 7,500 families last week.
Massachusetts has a right-to shelter law which requires it to provide housing for the homeless but Governor Maura Healey warned the state is out of room.
Migrant families were seen sheltering at Boston Logan International Airport as the city continues to struggle with the sharp rise in demand for shelter.
People were sleeping on benches with blankets over their heads and mothers were seen holding their infants inside the airport terminal.
The migrants are said to have arrived on a flight from San Antonio, Texas and their items were seen scattered across the floor.
Governor Healey, a Democrat, warned others who are contemplating going to the Massachusetts that there is no more room.
‘Massachusetts right now, in terms of a destination, winter’s coming, it’s going to get cold, we simply can’t promise you a bed,’ she said on Friday.
State Police and airport workers moved migrants out of the airport terminals.
Massachusetts Port Authority’s interim CEO Edward Freni said: ‘We have to emphasize that Logan Airport is not an appropriate place to house people.
‘Some of the folks come in late in the evening, we try to assist them if we see them, but usually early in the morning we accommodate them and move them to the assistance of the centers.’
Elsewhere in Boston, migrants crowded into the office at the Immigration Family Services Institute (IFSI) in Mattapan to look for help.
But there continues to be a long waiting list for those who require shelter.
‘We’re talking about Thanksgiving time when everyone is going to be enjoying a meal with families,’ Dr. Geralde Gabeau, executive director of IFSI said.
‘So, what’s going to move those who are placed in the street, after all the trauma, all the hardship that they endure, for them to be here?
‘And everyone is enjoying a meal, for them to be in the street in the cold to me this is not acceptable.’
White House senior advisor Tom Perez said a work authorization clinic which began this week has already served more than 1,000 migrants.
‘We will continue these efforts in the coming weeks to support more eligible migrants submitting their work permit applications,’ he added.
‘The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting local jurisdictions hosting recently arrived migrants and we will continue working with our partners in Massachusetts in the coming weeks and months.’
The Massachusetts Legislature wrapped up its formal session for the year on Thursday without a deal on a $2.8billion spending bill that included hundreds of millions of dollars to address the state’s emergency shelters that are buckling under a crush of migrant and homeless families.
Both the House and Senate bills would steer $250million toward the shelter system, but a conference committee was unable to resolve other differences early Thursday.
Lawmakers embarked for the holiday break with uncertainty clouding the state’s response to shelter emergency.
Some groups heaped scorn on lawmakers for failing to act. The Massachusetts Teachers Association said in a statement that it was ‘shocked, and frankly, disgusted’ by lawmakers’ inaction on the supplemental budget.
‘This is another stain on a Legislature that struggles to meet its obligation to serve the public good,’ the union that represents 117,000 members said in a statement.
Across the region, advocates relied on a patchwork of temporary shelters including churches, hospital waiting rooms and even airport lounges.
The spike in demand is being driven in part by migrant families entering the state. About half of the current shelter caseload are new arrivals to Massachusetts, according to Democratic Governor Healey’s administration.
The administration is working with groups to find temporary housing but has been reluctant to release some details of its plan, including the location of a clinic it sponsored with the Department of Homeland Security to help migrants obtain work authorizations.
Lawmakers don’t formally convene again for votes until the new year, but they could resolve their differences in informal sessions. However, legislative rules make it easier to derail bills in informal sessions.