Boston Moves Migrants To Airport
A group of migrants have been forced to call Boston's Logan Airport home as the city's 'sanctuary city' status has led to a shortage of beds for shelter. The group of up to 20 people, including babies, were seen sleeping underneath blankets on benches within the airport terminal on Friday.
The migrants, who arrived on a flight from San Antonio, Texas, have become the latest victims of the Massachusetts shelter system, as the state's cap of 7,500 families was reached last week. With no immediate solution in sight, these families have been put on waiting lists for emergency shelters, leaving them with no place to go.
Governor Maura Healey, a Democrat, has expressed concern over the lack of available shelter for homeless individuals and families in the state. She warned potential migrants that the state is currently at full capacity and that it cannot promise them a bed for shelter during the upcoming cold winter months. "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.
As the immigration crisis continues to overwhelm the state's shelter system, migrants have resorted to seeking shelter in inappropriate places such as the airport. Logan Airport's interim CEO, Edward Freni, has reiterated that the airport is not a suitable place for housing individuals. However, as the number of migrants continues to grow, state police and airport workers have had to step in to move migrants out of the airport terminals.
Meanwhile, in other parts of Boston, migrants are crowding into the office at the Immigration Family Services Institute (IFSI) in search of help. However, the long waiting list for emergency shelters has left many of these families with nowhere else to turn. "We're talking about Thanksgiving time when everyone is going to be enjoying a meal with families," said Dr. Geralde Gabeau, executive director of IFSI. "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?"
The Massachusetts Legislature has yet to come up with a solution to the shelter crisis as they ended their formal session for the year on Thursday. A $ 2.8 billion spending bill, which included hundreds of millions of dollars for emergency shelters, was unable to be agreed upon by both the House and Senate. Despite pleas from numerous groups, including the Massachusetts Teachers Association, lawmakers were unable to take action before the holiday break.
White House senior advisor Tom Perez has stated that the Biden-Harris Administration is committed to supporting local jurisdictions hosting recently arrived migrants and will continue working with partners in Massachusetts in the coming weeks and months.
In the meantime, as migrant families continue to arrive in Massachusetts, they are left to rely on a patchwork of temporary shelters, including churches, hospital waiting rooms, and even airport lounges. This spike in demand is driven in part by migrant families entering the state, with about half of the current shelter caseload being new arrivals. As the situation continues to be a pressing issue, advocates are urging for immediate action to be taken in order to provide suitable shelter for those in need.