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Baker appeals to feds for more help with migrants – WBUR News

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Gov. Charlie Baker wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Monday, urging the Biden administration to do more to help states like Massachusetts support migrants seeking asylum and arriving from countries like Haiti.
The governor took issue with what he described as a bifurcated system that offers more resources and support to immigrants arriving from places like Afghanistan and Ukraine than Haiti and Cuba, and makes it difficult for them to obtain permits to legally go to work.
“Massachusetts is proud to welcome individuals and families seeking asylum and refuge and is dedicated to helping families live with dignity, but additional federal support is required,” Baker wrote.
The administration has been under fire recently for its move to relocate migrants arriving in the state to hotels in Plymouth and Kingston as the shelter system has become overwhelmed and the state is unable to fully serve all new arrivals.
Massachusetts resettlement agencies served a total of 4,334 individuals in the federal fiscal year 2022, including over 2,000 Afghan humanitarian parolees, 822 Cuban and Haitian entrants, and 548 refugees, according to Baker. Another 133 immigrant families have sought shelter from July 2022 to now.
Baker asked Mayorkas and Becerra to expedite the issuance of work permits so that asylum-seekers and new arrivals can support their families and contribute to the economy. He also said the federal government should level the playing field for new arrivals from all countries and under all circumstances so that they all have access to the same federal programs and the state can properly support their resettlement.
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