BOSTON (WWLP) – Governor Patrick’s announcement that Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee could potentially shelter undocumented immigrant children came as a surprise to many.
“The Governor did not speak with the mayor, he did not call me; a staff member called both the mayor and myself very, very late in the game. We’re left to wonder exactly why it is that the Governor didn’t think to outreach to the community of Chicopee which would be impacted,” said Chicopee State Representative Joe Wagner.
If Westover Air Reserve Base is chosen by the federal government, up to 1,000 undocumented children would be temporarily housed in Chicopee as they wait deportation, reunification with family or in some cases asylum. Governor Patrick said the operation would be fully funded by the federal government and could last up to four months, but others are skeptical.
22News asked Assistant Senate Minority Leader Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) if the four-month estimate was reliable.
“Probably not. Our estimates in terms of time frames in government are usually off base,” Hedlund said.
The Governor got emotional while citing that his faith and his patriotism is what led to his decision, but others believe it was a political move.
“Well, because I think he was trying to advance the agenda of the President of the United States and I think it would have been problematic to advance that agenda if there was a more public discussion about it,” said Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester).
The Governor is not running for political office, but his political action committee continues to take in donations. They’ve raised more than $200,000 dollars to date.
Chicopee State Representative Joe Wagner told 22News that as of Monday afternoon, Governor Patrick has yet to reach out since Friday’s announcement.