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'The hospital is not a housing agency': Dozens of Haitian migrants sleeping in lobby of Boston Medical Center

Photo by Blake Nissen for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The number of Haitian migrants arriving in Boston has "risen dramatically." Many have been sleeping in the lobby of one of the city's largest hospitals, stretching it to its limits, officials have warned.

Boston Medical Center has handled the large influx of migrants coming from the Caribbean, according to CNN, with about 55 people mostly from Haiti spending the night in the hospital's lobby one evening in late April 2023.

“Families have stayed overnight in our lobby or overflow areas because they have nowhere to go, and we provide transportation to housing agencies the next morning so they can apply for housing when the agencies reopen,” said hospital spokesperson David Kibbe.

In the first four months of 2023, more than 400 families, mostly from Haiti, have stayed in the facility overnight, the spokesperson claimed. More than 600 were sheltered in 2022, as well.

“People have stayed overnight in our lobby but are not living at the hospital. The hospital is not a housing agency, and we are not a shelter," Kibbe said.

“The number of families arriving on a nightly basis has risen dramatically in recent weeks, stretching the resources of our emergency department, social work and support teams,” he added.

Violent crime has spiked in Haiti, according to reports, with the Department of Homeland Security saying, “Haiti has experienced a sharp deterioration in an already fragile security situation."

A group of gang members were burned and beaten to death in city streets. Criminals allegedly broke into a series of homes, with reports of gunshots in what was called a "peaceful area" with "peaceful citizens."

After Haitian National Police rounded up several of the suspected gang members in a police vehicle, citizens pulled some of them off and beat and burned them to death with gas-soaked tires.

“More than a dozen individuals riding on board this vehicle were unfortunately lynched by members of the population,” said a statement from the Haitian National Police.

The Boston mayor's office told CNN that it is working closely with hospitals, nonprofits, and churches to work with families. The mayor's office also called on the federal government to “provide the necessary support to deal with this crisis.”

“We will continue to monitor the situation and are ready to be a strong partner to the state as it leads on this crisis,” a spokesperson said.

According to the White House, the Biden-Harris administration announced that it would "welcome up to 20,000 refugees from Latin American and Caribbean countries during Fiscal Years 2023 and 2024."

In addition, Nicaragua, Haiti, Cuba, and Venezuela were allotted "up to 30,000 individuals per month."

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