CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP)–The Biden Administration made some 470,000 migrants from Venezuela who arrived in the country since July 31st of this year eligible for Temporary Protected Status, an immigration designation now includes 16 countries affected by war and other temporary conditions that make it unsafe or impossible to return migrants there.
Massachusetts one of the most affected states by this year’s influx of asylum seekers. Governor Healey has been calling for reform and reacted to the news.
“It’s not enough. Ultimately, this isn’t sustainable. We need the federal government to step up and give us authorizations so people can go to work,” remarked Healey.
Once granted, TPS status prevents removal or detainment based on immigration status and allows asylum seekers to apply for work authorization, a process that right now is taking around 90 days.
Local and state leaders are pleading with the federal government to speed up that process, saying that if these asylum seekers were allowed to work and support themselves it would reduce the strain on public programs and funds. But it’s not just policy changes the governor is asking for from the federal government. They are also looking for more immediate assistance.
“We also continue to ask for, demand federal funding,” said the Governor. “We are doing everything we can to manage this situation. It is challenging.”
Dozens of state Senators and House members signed a letter that was sent to President Biden and leaders of Congress urging comprehensive federal legal immigration reform.
Local officials told 22News that they want more communication from the state as this influx of migrants continues while the state is asking the same of the federal government. Officials at all three levels are looking for more funding to stabilize the lives of these families who fled crises and to alleviate the pressure on public systems.