25 Investigates

25 Investigates: Massachusetts reaches milestone in migrant crisis

BOSTON — As the President announces executive action on immigration, Massachusetts is reaching a milestone in the migrant crisis.

Massport tells 25 Investigates it’s been one year since families — in deep need — began arriving at Logan International Airport.

And 25 Investigates has learned, after all these months, the state doesn’t seem to track how many migrants are arriving each day and how they’re getting there.

It’s a sea of blankets and bags. Some people sleep on mats. Others on an air mattress.

Life in the airport’s Terminal E for newly arriving families seeking refuge in Massachusetts. And it’s been like this since June 2023, according to Massport.

25 Investigates spent weeks documenting the crowd of families sleeping in Terminal E.

Our camera documented the scenes six nights over three weeks; on May 14, 15, 16, 19, 22, and 27.

There were some nights we couldn’t find the floor. Other nights there were fewer people.

But just how many people seeking shelter come and go from Logan every day is a difficult number to track down, even for state lawmakers.

“Nearly every week we’re looking to open new shelters, new overflow sites, which tells us very simply that more people are coming,” said State Senator Peter Durant. ”It’s a pretty steady flow.”

The Republican from Worcester County says he’s been asking the Healey administration about how many people are arriving and from where.

“Do you have an understanding of how many people are arriving daily, weekly, or monthly at Logan Airport,” asked anchor and investigative reporter Kerry Kavanaugh.

“No,” Durant said. “We don’t just have the right to know…the number of people here, we kind of have a duty to it. I think we need more information, not less.”

Both in terms of the numbers and how taxpayer money is being spent, Durant says.

25 Investigates asked Massport if they are tracking how many migrants are arriving each day. The agency had no numbers.

In a written statement, a Massport spokesperson said, “We continue to see migrants at the airport. They come to Logan a number of ways and they arrive at Logan at all hours.”

When asked how they arrive, Massport responded, “The migrants arrive at Logan in all manner of ways, some fly in, but many come via bus, TNC, taxi, etc. It’s not always clear how they arrive.”

Massport suggested we ask the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities.

Kavanaugh did. But never heard back.

So, Boston 25 News asked the governor about the average number of migrants coming each or even week.

“There are a few from day to day,” Healey said during an event in Boston.

We also asked about President Biden’s new executive action to limit southern border crossings once they hit 2,500 a day.

“We’re assessing what the order means right now. What it means for Logan what it means for other places,” Healey said. “My focus is going to continue to be getting people who are here work permits. Many of them, 4 thousand people, have been processed. Many of them are working right now.”

But as these families leave the airport and move into the shelter system and even into jobs, others take their place.

“They’re not being transparent here,” said Durant.

Governor Healey says more federal action is needed to provide funding to states that are absorbing the new arrivals.

As Boston 25 News has been reporting, the newest overflow shelter site has been designated to the former prison in Norfolk. When that comes online, the state says it will be able to house about 450 people.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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