Migrant families at Terminal E dwindle over the weekend as state forces them to leave

BOSTON — Only a handful of migrant families remain at Logan Airport’s Terminal E Saturday – roughly 24 hours since Governor Maura Healy announced no one would be allowed to stay overnight starting July 9.

The Healey-Driscoll administration said that the decision comes as a result of recent efforts to open a new safety-net site at the old Norfolk prison, move more families out of shelters, and share a message at the U.S. southern border that Massachusetts is out of shelter space.

The site in Norfolk will reportedly be able to hold 140 migrant families at full capacity.

Jeffrey Thielman, President and CEO of the International Institute of New England serving immigrant families in the region, applauded the move by the state.

“We can provide them better services,” Thielman told Boston 25. “[Migrant families] are on top of one another. It’s not that comfortable, they’re sleeping on the floor.”

Thielman has worked with those families at Logan Airport regularly.

He explained, “I asked them, ‘Why are you here?’ Their answer was, ‘Because there are jobs.’ So, they want to work and we need them to work.”

The announcement by the state comes after pushback from some Norfolk residents about the safety-net site.

Thielman finished, “Over time, these people will become your friends and neighbors. They will get into the school system and become friends with your kids. They will eventually integrate into the community as all immigrants do.”

Healey’s administration noted that it will continue to get the word out through flyers in English, Spanish, and Haitian Creole to let families know that if they are traveling to Massachusetts, they need to be prepared with a housing plan that does not include Logan Airport or the state’s shelter system.

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