BOSTON (WWLP) – In a letter sent to the federal government on Monday, Governor Charlie Baker is appealing to immigration officials for help.
The roughly 50 migrants that were flown unknowingly to Martha’s Vineyard in September only make up a small fraction of the immigrants the state has seen this past fiscal year. A total of 4,334 individuals have been served by Massachusetts-based resettlement agencies. This includes over 2,000 Afghan Humanitarian Parolees, 822 Haitian and Cuban Entrants, and 548 refugees.
The state’s shelter system has also seen an increase in families seeking shelter, with 133 families entering shelters from July to now.
The Governor asked the federal departments to expedite work permits. Currently it takes about six to twelve months for new arrivals to secure work authorizations. Baker noted that even when these groups are legally in the country, they have no way to provide for themselves or their families.
Governor Baker stated, “These are folks who are stuck in limbo, and there’s nothing they can even do until they get that work visa. Some of them might not even be able to open up bank accounts, so you’re really kind of stuck in a situation where you can’t support yourself, you’re relying on others to support you.”
The governor also asked that the government make the field equal for all new arrivals, so everyone has access to the same programs. The governor ended the letter asking for “urgent assistance.”