(The Center Square) – Sixty-five bipartisan members of the Massachusetts Legislature have sent a letter to President Biden and congressional leadership urging them to “enact legislation designed to repair fundamental flaws in our federal immigration system.”
The Dean of the Massachusetts Senate, Marc R. Pacheco, hosted a press conference highlighting the letter, which outlines the impact of the influx of asylum-seekers, the rise of workforce shortages, climate change and the lack of immigration reform.
The senator used the event to criticize both parties for failing to take action to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, saying it has been 37 years since a key piece of legislation was passed. He accused both parties of using the issue to “weaponize” as a rallying cry for voters.
“The reason there has not been action on this issue at the federal level is because it’s more valuable for politicians on the extreme ends of the partisan divide if left unresolved,” Pacheco lamented.
Pacheco stressed the need to fill 9 million open jobs nationwide, with only 6 million unemployed workers. In the commonwealth, there are approximately 242,000 open jobs.
The senator echoed Gov. Maura Healey’s call to expedite work authorizations for migrants and financial assistance from the federal government in helping transition the asylum-seekers into the economy.
“We need the federal government to help finance the transition that we need to have in place and we need to have a federal government that is going to authorize [workers]. We just can’t have all of the individuals that are here not be able to go to work. They want to go to work,” said Pacheco.
In addition to addressing immigration reform and work authorizations, the senator stressed the issue of climate change and its effects on “climate refugees.”
Pacheco argues climate change is one of the major underlying problems of the flood of migration. The senator cited a figure from the United Nations claiming there will be an estimated 1.2 billion climate refugees, who he argues will either lose their homes to fires and floods, or won’t have drinkable water.
The senator said if action isn’t taken to combat climate change, “it will be a situation that will take place that will simply be ungovernable.”
He concluded the event by saying that the Republican caucus is authoring their letter, praising them for taking action and adding their voice to the issue. Pacheco hopes national leaders will look to the states where members of both parties are willing to come to a compromise on the issue, including protecting our borders.
The letter comes on the heels of Healey’s state of emergency declaration regarding the influx of migrants arriving in the commonwealth, with state officials scrambling to shelter thousands of asylum-seekers.