Report: 22 Kicked Out of Family Migrant Shelters in Massachusetts

By Andrew R. Arthur on June 4, 2024

On June 3, the Boston Herald reported that 22 individuals have been ejected from the Bay State’s family migrant shelters in recent months for what are termed “inappropriate actions”. It would help to know what those actions entailed, but for a system that has already had one high-profile arrest of a Haitian migrant for allegedly raping a disabled girl in a contract facility, the state likely needs to rethink how it’s housing migrants — and start asking questions about the administration’s flawed vetting policies.

Cory Alvarez. The Haitian migrant in question is Cory Alvarez, and Fox News reports he “flew directly from Haiti to John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City in June ... and was sponsored by someone in New Jersey” for parole under a Biden administration program that provides benefits to inadmissible Cuban, Haitian, Nicaraguan, and Venezuelan migrants (“CHNV parole”).

Applicants for CHNV parole are allegedly required to “undergo and clear robust security” screening before they’re allowed to come here (though little is known about that process) and must have sponsors who agree to provide for them once they arrive. Alvarez, however, wasn’t in New Jersey, and didn’t seem to be receiving much support from his sponsor, either.

Instead, the crime allegedly occurred on the evening of March 13 at a Comfort Inn in Rockland, Mass., where both the accused and the victim were residing. That hotel, Newsweek notes, was “designated as a shelter” for migrants last October, so he was apparently living there on the taxpayers’ expense.

Alvarez has not been convicted, and as with all pre-trial criminal defendants is entitled to a presumption of innocence. That said, if the charges are true, they reveal CHNV parole has created a massive public-safety vulnerability and also raises the question as to whether this was his first offense.

The Limits of Vetting. The effectiveness of the administration’s migrant-vetting protocols is impacted by two discreet factors: the speed at which DHS performs that screening before releasing apprehended migrants into the country; and the U.S. government’s ability to access criminal records from migrants’ home countries.

With respect to speed, note that a federal judge found last March that Biden’s CBP preferred to parole apprehended border migrants into the country instead of issuing them charging documents and placing them into removal proceedings because the former option was much quicker.

The differences in the respective processing times were significant: It took agents between 15 and 30 minutes to release a migrant on parole whereas serving those migrants with Notices to Appear (“NTAs”, charging documents in removal proceedings) and releasing them on so-called “alternatives to detention” took between two and 2.5 hours.

As I recently explained, migrants are coming to the Southwest border from all around the world, which itself has made screening all the more difficult.

The judge shut down CBP’s border parole releases because that process did not allow agents to make the “case-by-case” assessment parole requires, but two months — let alone two hours — is insufficient time to screen aliens from India, China, or west Africa.

In such cases, State Department consular officers abroad must contact local law-enforcement officials abroad directly, and that’s a best-case scenario. In the worst of situations, a consulate employee must travel deep into the country to access information, and that assumes the locals are forthcoming.

Contrast that with the lawful immigration process, in which visa applicants themselves must obtain good-conduct verification from local law enforcement officials and present it to consular officers. Until that happens, and the State Department clears those aliens, they aren’t going anywhere.

“Inappropriate Actions”. That brings me to the Herald article, which begins:

More than 20 people have been kicked out of the state’s emergency migrant-family shelter program in recent months for “inappropriate actions,” ... .

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities recently sent 22 “separation from household” letters to those in the Emergency Assistance family shelter program — expelling them while referring them to individual adult homeless shelters.

The Herald obtained these ejection letters through a public records request after finding out that a 29-year-old man was reportedly booted from a hotel housing migrant families in Marlboro, as a 16-year-old girl staying at the hotel got a restraining order against him.

Of the 22 recent “separation from household” letters, 21 of them cited “inappropriate actions” in the migrant-family shelter program.

I’ll stop right there to make two observations.

The first is, as that second paragraph indicates, migrants expelled from the family-shelter program weren’t kicked out of state-funded shelters entirely; instead, they were shuffled off to adult shelters. In so doing, Massachusetts is “kicking the can down to somebody else”, as my colleague Jessica Vaughan explained to the Herald reporter.

In each of those instances, the state should have called ICE to pick the expelled aliens up. That, however, apparently would have been contrary to Massachusetts pro-illegal migrant policies.

“Democracy Dies in Darkness”. Second, the state refused to tell the Herald what those “inappropriate actions” entailed. Apparently, in “the home of the bean and the cod”, taxpayers have no right to know what sorts of abuses they’re paying for, at least not when the offenders are in a protected class.

That’s as true for the facts surrounding the 29-year-old migrant with a restraining order from the 16-year-old girl as it is for the run-of-the mill expelled migrant from Massachusetts state-funded public housing.

He was kicked out of a state-contracted Holiday Inn in the town of Marlboro, and here’s how the Herald describes its efforts to determine why:

When the Herald reached out to Marlboro District Court about the restraining order involving the man, a court spokesperson said the matter was impounded and not available for the public. Was this impounded because the restraining order involves a minor?

“Abuse preventions orders are public record unless a judge impounds them,” a court spokesperson responded. “We cannot give you any information about why the order was impounded.”

Certain clerks’ offices in local courts can be a maze of dead-ends and stiff arms, but that particular “explanation” sets a new standard: The public has no right to know about that “abuse prevention order” because it has no right to know about it, nor may they know who requested the impoundment of those records or why.

Perhaps the reason is innocuous, but after the fallout from the Alvarez arrest, the possibility of a state cover-up — both to protect local officials and the Biden administration (Massachusetts is about as Democratic a state as you will find) becomes increasingly likely.

The Herald wasn’t apparently seeking the migrant’s name, let alone the alleged minor victim’s but still somebody decided that the facts were nobody’s business. Perhaps the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” Washington Post could take up the cause, though that’s admittedly not terribly likely.

The Inherent Dangers of the Border Crisis and the Biden Release Policies. I don’t pay taxes or vote in Massachusetts, so how the government there does its business is likely no business of mine.

That said, the Herald article underscores the larger dangers inherent in both the ongoing border crisis and in the Biden administration’s migrant release policies.

When any alien enters illegally, the best opportunity for truly effective vetting — when the alien is back home — is lost. Efforts by the U.S. government to screen that alien here are necessarily limited at best, unless of course the alien has been here, and offended, before.

Multiply those vetting limitations by the tens of thousands of aliens entering this country illegally per month, and screening moves from the imperfect to the perfunctory. Now compound the risks those aliens may pose by the administration’s laser-focus on moving illegal migrants out of detention as quickly as possible since day one, and you have an idea of where we are today.

In terms of fiscal costs, Massachusetts taxpayers are the ones paying the tab for housing these potentially dangerous migrants. When it comes to the threats those migrants pose to our national security and public safety, however, we’re all facing the prospect of paying a much dearer price.