BOSTON — Gov. Maura Healey made an impassioned plea to the Biden Administration and Congress on Tuesday for help as Massachusetts is dealing with record numbers of incoming migrant families.
Healey laid out the numbers during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon: There are about 22,000 people in the state’s shelter system.
Of those 22,000, about half are new arrivals, she said. And half of those are children.
These are people coming from various countries and Healey says the state is reaching capacity at what it can do to help them.
The governor called on the federal government for two things: Money, and work permits.
She said these migrants want to work and companies want their help.
“This is not sustainable,” Healey said. “This morning you saw the business community join in our call to the Biden Administration seeking support, seeking work authorizations. We need it. We need it now. We also need federal funds.”
“Massachusetts, as it has always done, has stepped up. But we need the support,” Healey said.
The governor’s plea to federal officials came days after she proposed putting $250 million toward shelter services.
She also says she has visited shelters across the state and the migrants say they want to work.
The Governor says the state has stepped up now it’s it’s the Feds’ turn to do the same.
Local agencies on the ground are doing what they can to assist. Jeff Thielman is the President and CEO of the International Institute of New England. He says they are on the ground helping migrants get resettled.
And he adds that getting migrants work permits is vital due to the cost of living here.
“We know even if they get a job at minimum wage it will not be enough to get them out of a shelter,” said Thielman.
He also says new people arrive daily and it’s not letting up.
“People keep putting their name on the waiting list they keep showing up so at the door looking for appts we are not seeing an end in sight to this,” said Thielman.
Thielman agrees with Gov Healey and her call for help from the Feds. He says money from the Federal government, coordination from the state, and on the ground groups like his are the best way to get migrants the help they need as quickly and efficiently as possible.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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