State of Emergency Declared In Massachusetts

Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey declared a state of emergency on Tuesday due to the overwhelming influx of immigrants into the state’s shelter system.

The “right to shelter” law guarantees homeless families access to emergency housing, but the recent spike of undocumented immigrants has put a tremendous strain on resources. Healey’s numbers revealed that nearly 5,600 families are currently housed in the state’s emergency shelter system, an increase of 80 percent from one year ago.

“These numbers are being driven by a surge of new arrivals in our country who've been through some of the hardest journeys imaginable. They are the face of the international migrant crisis,” Healey said during a press conference. “They're here because where they came from is too dangerous to stay there."

The state is looking for assistance from the federal government to help with the situation. Healey made an urgent and formal appeal for Washington to “remove barriers and expedite federal work authorizations” as well as look into providing additional funding for shelters.

However, not everyone is in agreement with Healey’s approach. Peter Durant, the Representative and candidate for state Senate, asked the Governor to file emergency legislation to repeal the right-to-shelter law.

“Our homeless shelters are maxed out. Hotels across the state have been converted to shelters. And the problem is growing on a daily basis,” Durant wrote in a release. “Worse yet, all of this assistance is being taken away from our legal residents and it is a potential safety risk for the children.”

The situation in Massachusetts is similar to the one happening in New York. The Big Apple recently asked a judge to provide relief from its own shelter laws, as the state is seeing an influx of undocumented immigrants.

It is yet to be seen if Massachusetts’s state of emergency will bring change to the growing crisis, or if it will take further action from the government. What is clear is that the state desperately needs assistance to handle the pressure imposed by the influx of immigrants.

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