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Vendors charging Massachusetts taxpayers $64 a day to feed each illegal immigrant: report

Massachusetts taxpayers are on the hook for $64 per day to feed each illegal immigrant as the cost of the migrant crisis is expected to hit $1 billion.

New details have emerged about the staggering sums of cash Massachusetts taxpayers are forking out to pay for the state’s influx of illegal immigrants, with vendors charging an eye-popping $64 per day to feed each person, according to a new report.

The new report by CBS News reveals that vendors are charging $16 for breakfast, $17 for lunch and $31 for dinner per day for each migrant it feeds – as the total cost of the crisis is expected to cost hardworking taxpayers $1 billion. 

One vendor, Spinelli Ravioli Manufacturing Company in East Boston, was awarded a $10 million six-month no-bid contract to provide and deliver meals, reports CBS, citing records.


The state's Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities told CBS that the no-bid contract is justified because of the unprecedented increased demand and the requirement that families be provided with three meals a day or sufficient food access. 

The state has previously said that it is obliged to cater to the migrants because of its 1983 sanctuary city law which was passed to deal with the relatively small number of homeless families and pregnant women, although critics have said the law does not apply to migrants who are not U.S. citizens.

The state's right to shelter law requires it to provide families with refrigeration and basic cooking facilities, but some of the accommodations do not have those appliances, leaving the state to contract out for food and delivery, CBS reports. 

"We're here today because we really don’t have a choice," Gov. Maura Healey, a Democrat, said earlier this month as she toured the Melnea Cass Recreation Center in Roxbury that was controversially closed to the public and converted into a makeshift migrant center. The Roxbury facility, which can accommodate up to 100 migrant families of four, quickly reached full capacity while other migrants have been sleeping at Logan Airport.

In August, Healey declared a state of emergency as the state became overwhelmed with the thousands of migrants arriving, many of whom had arrived by plane sent from other states after the commonwealth reached around more than 20,000 individuals in state shelters.


Spinelli Ravioli said it is not the exclusive meal vendor and does not have a guaranteed contract, or financial agreement, beyond this initial "emergency period."

"We are currently in the bid process for an enduring contract and are looking forward to continue to aid the State and the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities to reach their goals," the company told CBS. 

State Sen. Peter Durant, a Republican, said lawmakers have been appealing for the administration to hand over information on contacts for the better part of a year and that they have been "stonewalled on the information."

He said the cost of the crisis will ultimately be burdened upon the taxpayer.

"That's the concern is the money has to come from somewhere and so there's only really two options. You either raise taxes or you cut services. So, this all of this kind of flows downhill right straight to the taxpayers." 


The high costs of feeding migrants in Massachusetts come on the heels of a December report Healey sent to the state House and Senate Ways and Means Committees, writing that the state would need more than $1 billion to continue funding the emergency shelter system through 2025.

Healey and other members of the state’s congressional delegation have appealed for federal funding, but the Biden administration has only provided about $2 million to the state for emergency shelter and other migrant needs, according to The Salem News.

Meanwhile, school districts have spent more than $11.4 million over the past year from a state fund to help them cover additional costs from educating newly arrived migrant children, according to The Salem News, citing a report by legislative budget writers.

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