After Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (D) announced on Friday that the state was willing to house illegal immigrant children at two military bases, communities throughout the region raised concerns about the potential strain on their already strapped budgets. Commanders on the bases complained they had not been informed beforehand and raised security concerns.
Patrick said that he proposed illegal immigrant children be housed at Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne and Westover Air Base in Chicopee. But at Westover Air Reserve Base, “Sgt. Andrew S. Biscoe said the commanders would like to help, but all of the rooms that are on the base are occupied on the weekend by reservists.” According to CBS3 Springfield, “it was the first time officials on the base had heard the news,” and Briscoe said the Base “has limited facilities and open land, but there are security concerns.”
Local officials also raised concerns about the fiscal impact of housing illegal immigrants.
According to the Boston Herald, New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell “said school officials told him four families — three from Guatemala and one from Honduras — recently released from immigration detention centers in Texas will be enrolling their kids in New Bedford public schools this fall.”
Officials from Brockton, Chelsea, Quincy, and Everett said housing illegal immigrants in the state would strain their budgets even more. Chelsea, MA was swamped last year “by 267 students from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, all of whom were not previously enrolled in a U.S. school.”
The influx of illegal immigrants strains social services that are strapped for Americans in those communities, according to the officials. That sentiment was echoed by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
“If you cannot properly provide services for these illegal migrants that are coming over the border, what are you then perpetuating?” Sarno said. “You’re perpetuating poverty being concentrated on top of poverty, which would be in urban centers such as Springfield.”