State House reacts to Westover decision

Undocumented children will not be staying at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee

BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Three weeks after Governor Patrick offered up two locations in Massachusetts to shelter undocumented immigrant children, the federal government now says those shelters are no longer needed. Turns out, unaccompanied minors who have illegally crossed the U.S./Mexico border will not be staying in Massachusetts anytime soon.

“It’s actually, I think, a good thing because we’re not going to have to be picking up the cost,” Representative George Peterson, Asst. Minority Leader told 22News. “As much as they say the federal government is paying for it, there will be some costs for communities.”

This after Governor Patrick offered up Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and Joint Base Cape Cod in Bourne to temporarily shelter and process undocumented immigrant children.
Massachusetts was not chosen because, according to the federal government, fewer children are being taken into custody at the Southwest border.

Just because there is not a need for shelters right now, the federal government is not ruling out Westover to use in the future.

“The federal government might find that the flow of children suddenly increases because the violence in those countries certainly has not ebbed according to what we’ve seen,” says Frank Soults of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition.

Governor Patrick told 22News, “If asked again, I think I would respond in the way that thousands of compassionate people here in the Commonwealth who’ve expressed themselves to me would want me to respond, which is just the way we did.”

Next, the federal government plans to shut down three temporary shelters in the country that were used to house unaccompanied minors.

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