Five Ways Illegal Immigration Hurts Massachusetts

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Massachusetts is home to at least 250,000 illegal immigrants, according to the American Immigration Council.

Immigration can offer many benefits to the United States and Massachusetts. It can bring great, hard-working people to this country, who contribute to our tax base, own businesses, and are great friends to people in their communities. 

Unfortunately, however, illegal immigration can come with some downsides. Here are five ways illegal immigration hurts the Bay State:


1.  Fire Department Cuts

The state approved $250 million in emergency shelter spending in the fall, contributing to the state’s budget woes. That’s because the state’s right-to-shelter law lacks a residency requirement, so anyone from around the world, including illegal immigrants, can use it. Governor Maura Healey’s administration projected that emergency shelter costs will reach $1 billion this fiscal year, far more than the $325 million the state legislature budgeted for it, according to MASSterList.

Responding to the state’s budget problems, Governor Healey enacted $375 million in emergency mid-fiscal-year budget cuts in January. Among other things, she cut funding for more than 30 fire departments across the state.

So much for supporting our first responders.


2.  Homelessness

The influx of illegal immigrants to our state has also left Massachusetts residents homeless. Our state’s emergency shelter system hit capacity in November 2023, meaning the state lacked the necessary room to provide emergency shelter to lifelong Massachusetts residents. 

Plus, the state’s paying for motels for illegal immigrants caused motels to jack up their rates and demand occupants pay by the week, rather than by the day. This resulted in two people in the Boston metro area no longer being able to afford the motel they lived in. After being forced out of the motel, the two people were living in a car, according to WBUR.

Not to mention, illegal immigrants increase the demand for housing — and there’s not much housing supply in the Boston metro area. You do the math on that one. 


3.  Harboring Criminals

Many illegal immigrants, admittedly, come to this country in search of a better life for themselves and their families. We should never forget that. We should say no to immigrant-bashing and remember that the guy picking fruit under the table is not your enemy; he’s being exploited by a broken system, even if he broke the rules to be here.

Now that said, we’ve also seen some not-so-great illegal immigrants make their way into Massachusetts, including terroristsconvicted killers, and child rapists, as NewBostonPost has reported. We can’t perpetuate and incentivize a system that puts people like this in our state, even if they are not reflective of the typical illegal immigrant. 


4.  Billions In Welfare Costs

In 2014, then-state representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover) got the state government to reveal that it made $1.8 billion in welfare payments annually to illegal immigrants, according to The Boston Herald. While there hasn’t been an updated figure since then, it’s safe to assume that it has increased.

Think what else the state could do with $1.8 billion — or how much it would benefit Bay Staters to pay $1.8 billion less in yearly taxes. Cutting the sales tax from 6.25 percent to 5 percent would save taxpayers more than a billion per year, according to New England Cable News. The state could pay for something like that and save money if it stopped giving welfare to illegal immigrant households.


5.  Fewer Recreation Centers

Thanks to our state’s steady influx of migrants, the Melnea Cass Recreation Center in Roxbury is being used as a shelter for up to 400 people (or about 100 families), making its basketball courts and walking tracks inaccessible to the public until at least May 31.

Again, we can’t blame the illegal immigrants themselves for this one. They didn’t make this determination. We should instead blame leadership of the majority party on Beacon Hill. The Massachusetts Senate rejected an amendment from state Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) last fall that would have added a six-month residency requirement to the state’s right-to-shelter law. The Democratic Party voted in a bloc and rejected it 37-3.


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