State Seeks Immigration Aid as Local Schools Take in Students

Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School.

YARMOUTH – The state utilizing locations in Yarmouth, Eastham, and other Cape communities as emergency shelters for migrant families have led to protests by some and embrace from others, but local schools said they are welcoming foreign students with open arms.

In a letter to the community, Dennis-Yarmouth School District Superintendent Marc Smith said they will be enrolling all school-aged children, as required by law.

He added public school education serves the needs of all in the community and is a “great equalizer.” 

“Regardless of our beliefs about immigration policy within the country or sheltering within the state, let us come together around an understanding that school-aged children do not make policy decisions. These school-aged children are here by no fault of their own, so let us please unite around one of the most important things that we share as human beings which is our common desire to care for our children and join me in welcoming them into the Dolphin Community,” wrote Smith in the statement.

Meanwhile, Governor Maura Healey is seeking changes to the federal work authorization process to allow migrants to secure work faster and relieve pressure on the emergency shelter system in Massachusetts. 

Emergency shelters are housing migrants in Eastham, Yarmouth and Joint Base Cape Cod. In Yarmouth, rooms at the Harbor Side Suites are being utilized.

The following is the latest statement on ongoing migrant family sheltering in Yarmouth.

Town Administrator Robert Whritenour of Yarmouth received unexpected news from Governor Healy’s Office on September 13, regarding the presence of additional migrant families at the Harbor Side Suites. Including previous arrivals, a total of 21 families, comprising 72 individuals, were reported to be residing at the motel without prior notice to the Town of Yarmouth having been received. On September 14, 2023, a delegation from the Town of Yarmouth, including the Building Commissioner, Health Director and support staff, conducted an onsite visit to the Harbor Side Suites. During their visit, they engaged with the property’s owner to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the situation. The team learned from the owner that the 21 families were accommodated in 25 rooms within the motel. His initial estimates suggest that there are between 30 and 35 children among the residents. Additionally, the State’s rapid response medical team, comprising two Registered Nurses (RNs), was present on-site to conduct necessary medical assessments. Dennis Yarmouth Regional School District staff were also on hand to facilitate the enrollment of school-age children. The Town of Yarmouth is actively working to address any impacts on the Town of Yarmouth occasioned by these arrangements, and to ensure all public safeguards of the migrant families now residing at the Harbor Side Suites, as well as the residents of the town are met. The Town of Yarmouth will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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