Massachusetts Gov. Healey facing criticism for migrant hotel fire

Healey’s critics say she needlessly put lives in jeopardy by playing politics and not calling on President Joe Biden to secure the southern border.

Published: September 16, 2023 10:46pm

(The Center Square) -

Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey is facing criticism for “warehousing” migrants in “unsafe hotels” following a fire at a hotel housing asylum-seekers.

Critics warn the consequences could be much worse next time.

The fire broke out Wednesday at a Red Roof Inn in Sutton, where an estimated 50 migrant families are sheltered. The fire comes a week after state Sen. Ryan Fattman sent a letter to the commonwealth voicing his concerns over the condition of the hotel, citing past drug use and criminal activity. In addition, the hotel’s 911 system was not in compliance.

Fattman said the hotel is in a high-crime area, at high risk for sex crimes and dangerous criminal activity.

“This location is documented as high risk for drug trafficking, prostitution, weapons, and dangerous criminal offenses. In the past year, two level-three sex offenders habitated and/or were arrested at the dwelling where 21 migrant children now reside,” Fattman wrote.

Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance issued a warning to the governor that her policies are putting people’s lives at risk, echoing Fattman’s letter.

“Governor Healey’s politically motivated policies could very easily have cost people their lives,” said Paul Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance. "If Massachusetts had the capacity to take care of these people, we wouldn’t be warehousing them in unsafe hotels in remote, rural parts of the state."

Healey’s critics say she needlessly put lives in jeopardy by playing politics and not calling on President Joe Biden to secure the southern border.

“The governor ignored their warning, and a fire broke out that put many in danger," Craney added. "The governor needs to stop playing politics and call on President Biden to secure the southern border. This lack of leadership is having many negative consequences.”

Fattman wrote in his letter that Healey’s administration Executive Office of Public Safety cited the hotel in May and June for safety concerns. Critics also say the Sutton fire chief complained the hotel was too far from a water main in case of a blaze.

Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Ed Augustus Jr. praised first responders and National Guard members on site for helping to prevent tragedy while affirming the commitment to protecting the well-being of migrant families.

“The health and well-being of families in state shelter are our top priority,” said Augustus. "We are grateful for the National Guard member on site and the Sutton fire department who quickly extinguished the fire ensuring no hotel resident was injured."

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