(UnitedVoice.com) – Thousands of migrants have moved into shelters in Massachusetts while their asylum cases move through the system. The influx has put a strain on the state’s resources. Now, its governor is taking action.
On August 8, Governor Maura Healey (D), facing a rise in the number of asylum seekers, refugees, and their families who have entered Massachusetts, declared a state of emergency. In a press release, the governor’s office says there is now a “severe lack of shelter availability” in the Democratic state and a strain on services. The press release stated more than 20,000 individuals, including 5,600 families, are in state shelters.
The governor sent notice of the state of emergency declaration to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. In the letter, the governor pointed a finger directly at President Joe Biden’s administration as one of the reasons the declaration was needed. She blamed the crisis on “federal policies on immigration and work authorization, inadequate production of affordable housing,” and the end of other policies. The people currently living in the state’s shelters need help buying diapers and food, as well as paying for housing and medical care.
By declaring a state of emergency, the governor is now able to pressure the administration to take more proactive measures to help the migrants who are in the country. One of the ways the Biden administration could ease pressure on all of the states is by allowing asylum seekers to obtain work permits while waiting for their cases to wind through the system. That would allow the immigrants to support themselves by paying for housing, food, and other essential services. It would also help companies that are struggling to find workers.
Massachusetts is currently dealing with workforce shortages, but Healey said the work authorizations for migrants are taking months and even years. The governor also called on elected officials to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
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