Mass. in 'preliminary' talks with feds to accept Ukrainian refugees, Baker says

The Massachusetts State House in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)
The Massachusetts State House in Boston. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

State and federal officials are trying to pave the way for some Ukrainian refugees to come to Massachusetts.

Gov. Charlie Baker said the state already has been working with the U.S. government to resettle refugees from Afghanistan and Haiti, but described the talks regarding Ukrainians as still preliminary.

"Obviously, we would do whatever we could and I know I speak for everybody in the commonwealth," Baker told reporters Monday at the State House.  "We would do whatever we could to help folks from Ukraine who are looking to reestablish a life of some degree of normalcy here in Massachusetts and in the U.S."

President Biden said last week the U.S. hopes to take in 100,000 Ukrainian refugees who have fled their country since it was invaded by Russian troops. But it's not clear how many would potentially settle in New England.

Baker said one of the things the state could do to help accommodate refugees is use state money to supplement  any federal funding. He also said the state could also collaborate with nonprofits that help refugees with housing and other needs.

The Legislature is currently finalizing  a supplemental budget that includes $10 million for Ukrainian refugees.  That's in addition to the recent appropriation of $12 million for Afghan refugees and another $8 million for people from Haiti.

"A lot of that goes to resettlement non-profits across the state that help get families settled into our communities," Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) said.


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Steve Brown Senior Reporter/Anchor
Steve Brown is a veteran broadcast journalist who serves as WBUR's senior State House reporter.



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