A former veteran’s shelter has been proposed as a location to house hundreds of migrants in Boston, but residents are not happy about the solution. Boston has been seeing record numbers of immigrants coming to the city, and this is the latest attempt to deal with the overflow. Let’s see what’s happening.

Converted To a Migrant Facility

Massachusetts Democratic Governor Maura Healey announced that the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home, a historic building in Boston, will be converted to house hundreds of migrants.

Source: Flickr/EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid

Residents have come out in opposition to the conversion, asking if Boston’s government intends to help the veterans they already have living in the city first, ahead of migrants.

Previously Scheduled for Demolition

Despite the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home being a historic building, it was condemned and scheduled for demolition before the plan was hatched to house migrants there.

Source: Flickr/Richard Urban

The city intends to pay for migrants to live there, causing ire from some residents who say it’s unfair that the state pays to house migrants while veterans can’t pay to house themselves.

Veteran Costs At the Home

The website for the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home outlines the payments that veterans must submit if they want to live there. Veterans must pay $30 per day for nursing home care or $10 per day without.

Source: Flickr/David Sugden

Veterans must also pay a $300 personal exemption fee, whether or not they require personal nursing care. The facility was in use up until December, when the veterans were moved to a larger facility.

Repurposing Will not Affect Veterans

Much of this uproar about the situation seems to come from a misunderstanding. The facility is no longer in use and hasn’t been in use since the end of last year.

Source: Flickr/CT Senate Democrats

Additionally, Secretary of Veterans Services Dr. Jon Santiago notes that the facility isn’t going to interrupt veteran services. Better communication might have avoided much of the uproar about displacing veterans.

Boston Can Handle Both Things

According to Dr. Santiago, Boston has proven capable of handling the influx of refugees and housing homeless families as they enter the country.

Source: Flickr/Bill Damon

Starting on May 1st, the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home will become a “safety-net site” for refugees. Migrants who are placed here will be required to show they are taking steps to get off government assistance.

Proof of Self-Support

Refugees who are assigned to the Soldiers’ Home will need to apply for jobs to show that they’re trying to become self-sufficient and get back on their feet.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Agriculture

As an added measure, refugees must attend English classes and apply for work authorization alongside permanent residence in the United States.

A Complex Migrant Crisis

Massachusetts has faced a particularly complex migrant crisis and has responded to it by trying as best as it can to house migrants coming into the city.

Source: Flickr/Paul Sableman

The city has taken measures to ensure that migrants try to get off the public assistance system and enforce evictions from shelters for migrants who have stayed there for too long.

The US Is Also having an Immigration Problem

Many commentators have noticed that the US is dealing with a massive influx of migrants along the southern border. Florida is seeing immigrants flocking to its coasts from Haiti.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Department of Defense Current Photos

The US is the preferred port of call for migrants from the Caribbean and Latin America. Political upheaval and lack of opportunity in these areas lead people to flee for the US.

New Types of Migrants

In addition to the typical migrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, there are others from places as far away as China. Some commentators warn these might be spies posing as immigrants.

Source: Flickr/Michael Li

The US doesn’t have the required workforce on the southern border to stop incursions. Congress has been dragging its feet on approving funding to expand border patrol capabilities.

A Friendly Government

The Biden Administration has shown that it’s friendly to migrants coming into the US, and this has translated into a massive flood of newcomers. Immigrant numbers are steadily rising.

Source: Flickr/Gage Skidmore

Unfortunately, in places like Massachusetts, there’s no place to house new migrants. The state announced that it has reached the maximum number of refugees it can take.

A Record High for Migrant Encounters

Recent reports showed that migrant encounters along the southern border hit a record at the end of 2023. These encounters involved migrants trying to make their way into the country illegally.

Source: Flickr/Mesa0789

Not only are migrant encounters on the rise but there are also record numbers of asylum applicants. Statistics show that in 2023, almost a million people applied for political asylum.

Biden Administration Boosting Green Card Availability

Some of the most recent moves by the Biden administration have shown that it sees immigrant influx as a positive, with an increase in the amount of green cards available for some of these migrants.

Source: Flickr/Jude Matsalla

Unfortunately, some Democratic stronghold areas have decided enough is enough. Several smaller districts have stated they are unhappy with the influx of migrants affecting their neighborhoods.

Addressing the Immigrant Problem

In his recent State of the Union address, President Biden directly referenced the immigrant issue and promised that funding would come to strengthen the border patrol.

Source: Flickr/Kelly Kline

Democrats have been haunted by committing to supporting immigration. The death of Augusta nursing student Laken Riley at the hands of an illegal immigrant cast a dark shadow over the administration’s approach to immigrants in general.

Boston Has a Huge Task

With so many migrants making their way into Boston, more and more needs to be done to deal with the incoming refugees. The city’s administration has already created a solid schedule for bussing migrants from “safety-net” zones to shelters. The recent eviction laws allow them to free up space in those shelters for new arrivals.

Source: Flickr/Wally Gobetz

However, Boston is just one city. Immigrants find themselves in a brand new environment with a lot to learn. Shelters like The Chelsea Soliders’ Home are crucial to managing immigrants entering the city. The city might need to assign more abandoned buildings as shelters to cope with the refugee flood.