Massachusetts Commits Over $10M to Resettle Undocumented Immigrant Families

Massachusetts has allocated $10.5 million from taxpayer funds to engage eight resettlement agencies. These agencies will undertake the considerable task of relocating 400 families of undocumented immigrants from state-run shelters by the end of the year. This effort is intended to ease pressure on emergency shelters, which have experienced overcrowding as a result of a surge in illegal immigration linked to President Biden’s policies of open borders.

Under the leadership of Governor Maura Healey’s administration, a groundbreaking one-year pilot program has been launched. This initiative implements a well-established resettlement approach previously employed at the federal level for humanitarian parolees from Afghanistan or Ukraine. It adapts this approach to meet the urgent need for local emergency assistance shelters, which are currently operating at full capacity.

The $10.5 million budget allocation comprises $2.5 million, sourced from both the fall budget bill ($2 million) and the fiscal year 2024 budget ($500,000). This additional funding plays a critical role in preventing homelessness among refugees and holders of special immigrant visas, including those entering through the federal resettlement program.

Resettlement agencies have been tasked with the vital responsibility of locating suitable housing for migrants and providing comprehensive case management for a year to ensure their self-sufficiency. Jeff Thielman, CEO of the International Institute of New England, an agency heavily involved with newly arrived Haitians, emphasizes the importance of securing employment for these migrants.

Massachusetts has grappled with a growing crisis of illegal immigration over the past year, particularly impacting Boston and its surrounding areas.

Emergency shelters have reached their capacity limits, leading to the conversion of a section of Boston-Logan International Airport and a recreation center in Roxbury into temporary shelters.

Governor Healey expressed appreciation to the Legislature for allocating $8 million in fall funds to her administration, highlighting the essential role of resettlement agencies in linking families with housing, employment, and necessary resources. She emphasized that the program aims to enhance communities and the economy through this collaboration.

The relocation initiative will be coordinated by eight resettlement agencies, each tasked with assisting a portion of the 400 families. The selection process will prioritize those with previous connections to resettlement and legal services agencies.

In a related development, residents of Boston’s upscale Fort Point neighborhood expressed outrage over the conversion of an office building into an emergency shelter for undocumented immigrants. During a community meeting on Tuesday evening, Boston’s affluent residents voiced significant concerns regarding safety and security, particularly regarding this decision.

Local residents, among them Brian Curley, voiced their frustration at not being consulted prior to the decision. Curley expressed to WBZ-TV, “I believe there are many residents who share my sentiment that this was imposed upon us.” These concerns mirror those expressed in sanctuary cities throughout the United States.