Just weeks after declaring a state of emergency over the influx of illegal immigrants to her state, Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey on Sept. 13 officially deployed National Guard members in “rapid response teams” to help with illegal immigrant shelters.
About 250 National Guard members were being deployed at motels and hotels to give medical access, transportation, and meals to illegal immigrants, Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll told reporters on Sept. 12.
“The plan that we have in place today with the deployment of the National Guard, which happened just last month, will put National Guard staff, soldiers, in locations as part of a response to our non-service providers, essentially creating rapid response teams in places that we don’t have the ground service contractors or case management services happening on a regular basis,” she said.
Ms. Driscoll told WFXT-TV in Boston that she had told the state’s government advisory commission that about 20 to 35 families are seeking shelter each day in Massachusetts. That creates “an immediate need to try and find spaces,” she said. “All of our typical emergency shelter sites were filled a month ago.”
Ms. Healey’s Sept. 13 order came just weeks after her Aug. 8 declaration of a state of emergency because of the strain that “rapidly rising numbers” of illegal immigrant arrivals had placed on the state’s shelter system. She also called for more funding from the federal government.
“Massachusetts is in a state of emergency,” the governor, a Democrat, said in statement. “We’re grateful to the National Guard for stepping up to help us ensure that families in need have access to basic services like food, transportation, medical care, and education.”
Ms. Healey sent a letter on Aug. 8 to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas asking his agency to deal with a “confusing tangle of immigration laws, an inability for migrants to obtain work authorization from the federal government, an increase in the number of people coming to Massachusetts, and the lack of an affordable housing supply in our state.”
Reports have indicated that roughly 6,000 families are staying in emergency shelters across the state, located thousands of miles from the U.S.–Mexico border. A significant number of the illegal immigrants are from Haiti.
In recent weeks, a number of Democrat-run states and cities have been forced to grapple with a recent influx of illegal immigrants who have come across the U.S.–Mexico border.
Earlier this month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, a Democrat, spoke at a town hall event in Manhattan about the crisis.
“Let me tell you something New Yorkers: Never in my life have I had a problem that I did not see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this. I don’t see an ending to this. This issue will destroy New York City, destroy New York City. We’re getting 10,000 migrants a month,” Mr. Adams said, according to video footage of the event.
“[At] one time we were just getting Venezuela, now we’re getting Ecuador, now we’re getting Russian-speaking coming through Mexico, now we’re getting western Africa, now we’re getting people from all over the globe.”
According to federal data, illegal border crossings fell sharply after the Biden administration introduced new restrictions in May. However, the numbers are again rising, the data show. Preliminary data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection revealed that August was the busiest month ever for apprehensions of migrant families crossing the border with children from Mexico.
With more than 91,000 arrests in August, families with children now account for about half of the arrests of people crossing the border illegally from Mexico, the agency told The Associated Press last month.
That’s a dramatic increase from the 60,161 arrests in July and 39,305 arrests in June. The August tally surpassed the previous high of 84,486, recorded in May 2019.
Overall, arrests from illegal crossings from Mexico topped 177,000 in August, compared with 132,652 in July and 99,539 in June, the Customs and Border Protection official said.
At the same time, more than 100 House Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to “use all tools available” to effectively give illegal immigrants work permits without going through the usual process through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
“Unfortunately, positive legislative reforms in immigration are unlikely this Congress due to extreme MAGA Republican opposition,” the letter stated. “However, the administration can make significant and meaningful reforms through many of the authorities already given to it by Congress. We strongly urge the administration to use these authorities to the fullest extent possible.”