In response to the ongoing immigrant crisis, Democratic Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey has made a move by activating 250 members of the Massachusetts National Guard. The troops will be assigned to hotel shelters over the next few weeks. The goal? To provide essential services and support at emergency shelter hotels throughout the state.
— Larry Elder (@larryelder) September 1, 2023
With her eye on both immediate needs and long-term solutions, Healey’s order will see National Guard units working hand in hand with local communities to manage the coordination of transportation, food, medical care, and other basic necessities for the approximately 6,000 families and 20,000 individuals currently being housed in emergency shelters.
A majority of these asylum seekers consist of families with pregnant women and children, highlighting the urgent humanitarian aspect of this situation.
Healey released a statement, saying, “Massachusetts is in a state of emergency, and we need all hands on deck to meet this moment and ensure families have access to safe shelter and basic services.”
Recognizing the dedication and bravery of the National Guard, she expressed gratitude for their commitment to ensuring every family’s needs are met, including access to food, transportation, medical care, and education.
The roles of the deployed troops will encompass facilitating various essential services, from food distribution to coordinating transportation and medical care. This temporary measure aims to ensure a smooth transition while the state explores more permanent staffing solutions.
Additionally, the National Guard members will partner with local school districts to assist in enrolling children in schools that cater to their unique educational needs.
Healey’s strategy also involves the creation of regional rapid response teams, which comprises dedicated state employees. These teams will oversee specific geographic regions, enhancing the coordination of services and enabling efficient preparation of shelter sites.
The plan also involves forging connections to public benefits and engaging with municipal and legislative officials for comprehensive support.
Adjutant general of the Massachusetts National Guard Major General Gary W. Keefe expressed pride in the Guard’s expanded role.
“Our role in the response to the ongoing housing crisis will expand to leverage our multitude of robust and adaptable capabilities in emergency and domestic operations to help those in need,” he stated, highlighting the Guard’s commitment to making a difference.
Healey’s call for assistance from Washington, D.C., reflects the financial and logistical challenges faced by the state in accommodating the 80% increase in individuals seeking refuge in state-funded shelters, hotels, and dormitories, as well as other emergency facilities.
The urgency of the situation became evident when Healey declared a state of emergency in response to the crisis.
The situation in Massachusetts mirrors that of other sanctuary zones across the nation, where cities like Chicago, New York City and Washington, D.C. have also grappled with the influx of immigrants released into their communities.