On Thursday, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey (D) announced that she is deploying 250 National Guard troops the help with the state’s illegal immigrant crisis by providing basic services at emergency shelters and hotels.
In a press release, Healey said, “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.”
“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.”
Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll said in the press release, “This National Guard activation is a necessary step to ensure that families in emergency shelters have access to the services they need to stay safe and healthy.” She added, “This is an emergency measure that will help us meet immediate needs while we continue to advocate for assistance from the federal government in the form of streamlined work authorizations and funding.”
Governor Healey declared a state of emergency for Massachusetts on August 8, because the state was running out of room in its family shelter system. She noted in a press release that “There are currently nearly 5,600 families or more than 20,000 individuals in state shelter, including children and pregnant women.”
In a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, Healey blamed federal immigration policy among others for the issues. “This state of emergency arises from numerous factors, among them federal policies on immigration and work authorization, inadequate production of affordable housing over the last decade, and the end of COVID-era food and housing security programs,” She said. “The need for action is urgent.”
During the press conference announcing the state of emergency, Lt. Governor Driscoll urged residents to consider housing illegal immigrant families. “This is not a crisis that our family shelter system was designed to handle. For months now, the 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 deployed the National Guard to Martha’s Vineyard last September after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis sent a flight of illegal immigrants to the Cape Cod vacation island, with former Governor Charlie Baker saying that the National Guard would assist in moving the illegal immigrants to a military base on Cape Cod.