By Alice Giordano
National outrage has rapidly spread over news that American veterans and active service members with tickets to the highly anticipated annual and historic Army-Navy college football game have had their hotel reservations given to illegal immigrants as government-funded housing.
“It is outrageous that our veterans, who put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms, are being displaced for people who broke our laws to enter our country illegally,” Massachusetts Rep. Peter Durant (R-Spencer) told The Epoch Times.
“This is a major embarrassment for our state.”
This year the game is slated to be played at Gillette Stadium, the home stadium of the New England Patriots in Foxboro, Massachusetts. It is the first time in the 124-year history of the game that it will be played in New England.
Robert Kraft, the owner of Gillette Stadium and the Patriots, called the matchup between the Army Academy’s Black Knights and the Navy Academy’s Midshipmen—”America’s game.”
Presidential candidates including former President Donald Trump and Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis have also blasted the move to cancel the veterans’ longstanding hotel bookings to accommodate illegal immigration.
“This is an all-time classic—only in Biden’s America!” President Trump posted on X, formerly Twitter, on Oct. 4.
Gov. DeSantis called it a “farce” adding: “When I am president, the days of putting illegal aliens over Americans will be over.”
Social media is also abuzz over the controversy with Republican lawmakers as far away as Tennessee chiming in on the issue.
“Why does the Left care more about illegal immigrants than our veterans?” U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) asked on Oct. 5 in a post on X.
The Army-Navy game is considered one of the most anticipated events with military and their families traveling from all over the country to attend.
It is so popular that veterans buy their tickets and make their travel arrangements several months in advance of the game.
The plight of veterans attending the game came to light in a Sept. 24 article published by The Armed Forces Press (AFP).
The agency reported that veterans were “scrambling” to find a place to stay while in town for the game after being told by hotel officials their reservations were canceled because rooms had been given away to migrants.
The article included screenshots of emails from hotels to veterans conveying the bad news.
The issue gained media attention after a Boston Herald columnist wrote about it this week.
The Army-Navy Game has always been a celebrated event since it was first played on Nov. 29, 1890, at West Point.
But it now has the misfortune of landing in a venue that is entangled in an escalating controversy rocking all of Massachusetts over a flood of illegal immigrants pouring into the state.
Last month, Gov. Maura Healey declared a state of emergency over the flood of illegal immigrants into the state and divulged that the Commonwealth is spending about $45 million a month to house them.
She refused Mr. Durant’s request for the specific amount being spent on hotels. The issue has become contentious in one of the bluest states in the United States.
Earlier this month, residents of Cape Cod—where Pride flags and Black Lives Matter are abundant—staged a protest when they learned a small motel in Yarmouth was one of the designated hotels on Healey’s list.
Now veterans are learning that several of the hotels secured by the Healey administration in the Foxboro area as housing for immigrants are the very ones where they booked rooms to attend the Army-Navy game.
Mark Mansbach owner of Hillsdale Travel Agency, one of the agents who handled hotel bookings for veterans attending the game, told Boston News 25, that about 70 of his customers have been told the rooms they booked are now being used to house migrants.
In a released statement about housing immigrants, Giri Hotel Management, which owns three of the hotels that canceled reservations held by veterans, called it a “gesture of solidarity and humanitarian responsibility” to open its doors to “those seeking refuge in our community. “
The company, which according to its website owns dozens of hotels around New England, also called it “a privilege to offer a safe haven to those who have been forced to flee their homes due to challenging circumstances.”
According to the Americans For Legal Immigration Political Action Committee (ALIPAC), which tracks the impact of illegal immigration on the United States, hotels are being paid up to triple the rack rates for their rooms to be used as housing for illegal immigrants.
“They don’t care how many Americans get hurt, whatever the price to pay to make sure someone like Donald Trump never gets back into the White House,” said ALIPAC president William Gheen.
Last month in a related story, Mr. Durant told The Epoch Times he knows of some hotels in Massachusetts that have been given nine-year contracts with the government to provide housing for illegal immigrants.
He said he is now working on legislation to stop the practice of canceling hotel reservations for American citizens and giving the accommodations instead to people who are here illegally.
Gov. Healey has repeatedly pointed to the state’s right-to-shelter law to explain why her administration is finding housing for immigrants.
Her administration and others have also emphasized that the migrants are not here illegally, but instead “asylum seekers and refugees.”
Mr. Gheen said that the government is “deliberately falsely misclassifying illegal immigrants to justify the invasion.”
On Oct. 5, popular Boston-based conservative talk radio show, Jeff Kuhner, said he believed the law was intended to apply to Americans and not people “in the country illegally.”
Mr. Kuhner also joined many callers in calling for the game, slated for Dec. 9, to be moved to a different venue.
“It’s easy to pretend to be compassionate, to signal with other people’s money, and other people’s neighborhoods, and other people’s communities, and other people’s home and their businesses,” said Mr. Kuhner, “do it on your dime and on your time and in your own home. Then we’ll talk.”
Outside of Massachusetts, there are growing incidents of veterans and American citizens losing their housing to illegal border crossers.
In May, public outrage followed news stories that some 20 veterans—including several disabled or suffering from PTSD—were evicted from hotels in New York so the rooms could be given to illegal immigrants.
Boston also has a sizable homeless population that continues to live on the street as government officials move to house immigrants.
Last month, Boston Mayor Michelle Wu called for an emergency ordinance to take away makeshift tents used by the homeless as a solution to suspected drug activity taking place inside them.
A Texas man commented in response to the Armed Forces Press article: “If they want migrants to have the right to shelter, buy them some tents and set them up on the lawn of their capitol building.”