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Migrant meal madness: Taxpayers foot $64 daily tab for illegal aliens
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Migrant meal madness: Taxpayers foot $64 daily tab for illegal aliens

But the cost of feeding new arrivals pales in comparison to the $3 million a day Massachusetts spends on housing them.

The growing price tag of the migrant crisis strikes again. A new report by CBS News revealed that Massachusetts vendors are charging $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch, and $31 for dinner, per day, for each migrant the state feeds. The vendors are charging the state, and the state is passing on the expenses to the taxpayers.

In total, the tab amounts to $64 per person, per day. Put differently, the cost is about $450 per week or about $2,000 per month per person. For a family of four, the costs balloons to about $256 per day, $1,792 per week, or $7,680 per month.

All these generous welfare payments are really starting to add up.

Do you spend $64 a day on meals? If you have a family of four, do you have $256 to spend on meals per day? If these prices seem outrageously high, it’s because they are. Many taxpayers can order pizza for dinner for about $50 and feed a family of four. Yet taxpayers are budgeting about $124 to feed a migrant family of four for dinner. That’s easily more than double what we spend on ourselves.

If a newly arrived migrant family were to claim this benefit for a full year, which doesn’t seem unreasonable given how things are going, the state will be shelling out more than $92,000 just to feed them. This does not consider the costs of emergency health care, putting a roof over their heads, or educating their children, which are also required by state law. Massachusetts has one of the highest median family incomes in the country at roughly $89,000, yet that entire sum wouldn’t even be able to cover the food costs currently being paid out to these newly arrived migrants.

Massachusetts taxpayers are on the hook because state House leaders are dealing with the problem by simply throwing taxpayer money at it. Unlike the hardworking taxpayers who are actually footing the bills, the urgent need for magnet policy changes does not seem to be felt by the Beacon Hill politicians.

These new figures are just for food and don’t even take into account how much state taxpayers are spending on the “right to shelter” law benefit, which is expected to be around $1 billion a year. As the only state in the country to offer this right, the law allows any migrant to come to Massachusetts and automatically receive taxpayer-funded shelter.

Governor Maura Healey (D) attempted to unofficially to cap the program by announcing how many families we can physically accommodate, but it doesn’t seem to be working well for her administration. If you are a struggling town or city that needs to repair roads or fix up a municipal building, think of it this way, the state is spending about $3 million a day on the migrant housing situation instead of that money going to local needs. A town or city could do a lot with $3 million a day.

In December, the Massachusetts legislature passed and Healey signed into law a temporary budget to give away more taxpayer money to the emergency shelter system. It included a new policy allowing some migrants to also qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. These generous welfare benefits are intended for purchases at grocery stores to cover food. The maximum SNAP payment for one person is $291 per month, $535 for two people, and $766 for a family of three.

All these generous welfare payments are really starting to add up. Housing is about $3 million a day. SNAP welfare benefits are $291 a month for one migrant. Meals are about $64 a day. And don’t forget costly emergency health care. If you start to do the math, you quickly realize the state is paying more for migrants than what many hardworking Bay State taxpayers can afford in their daily lives.

What does the state do next? Healey and state House leaders need to adjust their perception that a policy win is determined by how much money they can spend on the problem. Simply throwing money at the problem results in the costly situation we are in now. It’s not sustainable to continue down this path.

Current state policy that makes our state a magnet state is not leadership; it’s foolishness. It isn’t producing results, and it is creating more problems. Until enough pressure is put on our state House leaders, they will continue to waste our precious tax dollars and ask us for more. The migrant situation is largely a result of Joe Biden’s mishandling of the southern border and Congress’ inaction, but the response by Governor Healey and the Massachusetts legislature so far has been inadequate and costly.

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Paul Craney

Paul Craney

Paul Diego Craney is the spokesperson for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.