Massachusetts National Guard members were officially deployed as “rapid response teams” Wednesday to assist with the state’s bursting migrant shelters, as pressure mounts for President Biden to address the crisis in the state.
The move to deploy 250 members comes as Democrat Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency several weeks ago because of the strain on the shelter system.
“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,” Healy said in a statement.
Currently, more than 6,000 migrant families are in emergency shelters across the state. Massachusetts is a right to shelter state, and must provide emergency housing to families in need.
National Guard members were sent Wednesday to 40 hotels and motels that don’t have service providers. Healey said they’ll coordinate access to meals, medical care and transportation.
“The plan that we have in place today with the deployment of the National Guard, which happened just last month, will put National Guard staff, soldiers, in locations as part of a response to our non-service providers, essentially creating rapid response teams in places that we don’t have the ground service contractors or case management services happening on a regular basis,” Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll said Tuesday.
According to WFXT Boston 25 News, Driscoll told the Local Government Advisory Commission that between 20 and 35 families seek shelter each day in Massachusetts, occasionally swelling as high as 55 families, which “creates an immediate need to try and find spaces.”
“All of our typical emergency shelter sites were filled a month ago,” Driscoll told Boston 25 News. “That means we’re filling in trying to find locations.”
The state has scrambled to find housing, opening Joint Base Cape Cod as a temporary shelter in June. The base quickly expanded to house and support up to 60 migrant families, but Driscoll said that it “filled up within two days.”
The immigration crisis has prompted blue state Democrats like Healey to lean on the president to do more about the crisis for months.
Healey first declared a state of emergency in August, calling for more funding and help from the federal government.
“Many of these families are migrants to Massachusetts, drawn here because we are and proudly have been a beacon to those in need,” she wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
She also blamed “a confusing tangle of immigration laws, an inability for migrants to obtain work authorization from the federal government, an increase in the number of people coming to Massachusetts, and the lack of an affordable housing supply in our state.”
Healey called for Mayorkas to press Congress and use executive action to remove barriers for work permits for migrants, “address our outdated and punitive immigration laws” and to provide additional financial assistance to the state.
Following Massachusetts’ cries for assistance, Boston received a $1.9 million grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help migrants with shelter and transportation.
Healey’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.