Migrants are being cleared from Boston's Logan Airport as nonprofits scramble to help them

BOSTON – Migrant families are now prohibited from Sleeping at Logan Airport and nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts are working to help them find housing elsewhere.

Terminal E now empty

Logan Airport's Terminal E is now empty. The floors that were once crowded with dozens of migrant families have been empty since Tuesday evening under assignments by the Healey administration.

“The family wet the little boy last night and I immediately came here and got him some clothes,” said Gladys Vega of La Colaborativa in Chelsea. She prepared, knowing that the closure of the improvised sleeping spaces at the airport would soon end and immigrant families with nowhere else to go would need help. “If for some reason someone comes at night, we are your on-call organization and that's exactly what happened,” Vega said.

That was her message to the Healey administration, and Vega was told to go to Logan Airport and help some of the arriving families with places to sleep and essentials. She has a message now that is difficult.

“Massachusetts is no longer the right place to visit”

“If you don’t have a plan, if you don’t have a family member waiting for you, if you don’t have a job waiting for you, then Massachusetts no longer the right place to come.” When asked if it was difficult for her to say that, Vega replied, “Of course it is, because imagine, I was in an organization where everyone was welcome.”

Vega called it a humanitarian crisis as the state's shelters are reaching capacity. The governor said Logan Airport may no longer be an option as dozens of families have to camp there for days. Among them is a 31-year-old woman from Haiti who spoke through an interpreter from Immigrant Family Services of Mattapan and asked to remain anonymous.

“This was not what I expected. I couldn’t sleep and [spent the night] about the trip,” the woman said through an interpreter. It was a several-month trip to Massachusetts, and she finally has a place in the former correctional facility in Norfolk, which she says has given her a certain stability. “I came here looking for a better life.”

Dr. Geralde Gabeau of the Mattapan organization said that's all anyone wants. She said Logan has never been an ideal place to receive migrant families, but nonprofits like hers need to step up.

“Yes, it is challenging, yes, it is difficult. But does that mean we should close our doors? I don't think so. That is why I call on everyone who can come and help to do so,” said Dr. Gabeau.

Anna Harden

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