‘It's wrong': Cape Cod town pushes back after state sends in migrants

Town Administrator Robert Whritenour doesn’t know exactly how many migrants are in Yarmouth, but he said at least six families arrived from Haiti late Sunday night with very little warning from the state

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Local officials are pushing back on the state after a group of migrant families arrived on short notice over the weekend in Yarmouth, Massachusetts.

In a letter to Gov. Maura Healey Tuesday, the Select Board urged the state not to place migrants at another possible housing site in town, the Yarmouth Resort motel. Officials wrote that the location has "become a nuisance to the town," does not have an occupancy permit and the property is under a cease-and-desist order. Meanwhile, the issue has become a source of contention in town, according to Town Administrator Robert Whritenour, who said the lack of communication from the state is only exacerbating the problem.



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“It's a fluid process with them day-to-day. They often neglect or forget to contact the local municipal officials," Whritenour said. "It's been brutal, quite frankly, in terms of a lot of vitriol that has been directed towards local officials, towards state officials, towards federal officials. And honestly, I think a lot of people are fearful."

The town administrator doesn’t know exactly how many migrants are in town, but he said at least six families arrived from Haiti late Sunday night with very little warning from the state. Gov. Maura Healey's office did not respond to NBC10 Boston's requests for information on how many migrants were in Yarmouth as of Wednesday.

Meanwhile, protesters have been gathering outside of Town Hall and the hotel where the migrants are staying. One woman was kicked out of a heated five-hour meeting on the subject Tuesday night. Residents voiced concerns over the influx of migrant families, including the cost of health care, education and communication.

A fire broke out at a hotel that was being used as a shelter for migrant families in Sutton, the same day 250 National Guard members were deployed to help with the migrant crisis..

“We fear we’re losing Cape Cod," one woman said at the meeting. "Cape Cod is a special and beautiful place. It’s not just a problem for our town. We need you guys to be working with the other towns to have a unified front on this.”

“We need information and we need it immediately," her neighbor added.

State Rep. Steven Xiarhos also spoke out at the meeting and posted about it on Facebook. He’s part of an effort on Beacon Hill to change the state's 40-year-old “right-to-shelter” law. Massachusetts is the only state in the country that requires emergency shelter be provided to homeless families, which does not apply to homeless individuals. Xiarhos said the legislation should only apply to U.S. citizens.

“We're not going to just sit back and accept this situation here on Cape Cod. It's wrong, and we're not afraid to stand up and say so," Xiarhos wrote.

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