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Report: Massachusetts paying more for migrant meals than national average

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(The Center Square) – Massachusetts taxpayers are footing the bill for migrants staying in the commonwealth, spending more than five times on daily meals for migrants than what the average American spends.

Vendors with state contracts are charging $64 a day per migrant for meals, according to a CBS News report.

As migrants continue to flood the commonwealth, many are staying in hotels and motels contracted by Massachusetts. So far, the state has 17 contracts worth $116 million for the fiscal year 2024.

For meals, some hotels charge $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch and $31 per person for dinner, totaling $64 a day. In comparison, the average American spends less than $12 daily on food.

One reason the cost may be inflated is due to Massachusetts’ “right-to-shelter” law requirements. Massachusetts is the only state in the country with a “right-to-shelter law,” which requires the state to provide housing to families in distress, regardless of citizenship status. The state’s emergency shelter waitlist reached over 700 last week after the state’s capacity of 7,500 was maxed in November.

As a result, Massachusetts officials have had to put migrants wherever they could, including Logan Airport. The Center Square reported earlier this month that Gov. Maura Healey commandeered a community center in Roxbury to house 400 migrants.

Some lawmakers have tried to curb migrant-related costs by changing the commonwealth’s “right-to-shelter,” which requires Massachusetts to provide families access to adequate housing and shelter.

Last year, Republican Rep. Paul Frost sponsored an amendment to alter the “right-to-shelter” law by requiring a one-year residency benefit in the commonwealth. The amendment was overwhelmingly shot down in the House 28-126.

Healey has also proposed taking $8 million from the supplemental budget to expand the state’s capacity to house migrants. The move could cost residents $1 billion by next year.

As The Center Square reported last week, Massachusetts voters, regardless of political affiliation, disapprove of taxpayer money going toward housing migrants.

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