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Army-Navy game hotel rooms given away to migrants, travel agent says

The view of the 123rd Army-Navy game from the press box. (Photo by Liz George).
October 05, 2023

Multiple hotel reservations for this year’s beloved Army-Navy football game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, have been canceled due to the migrant crisis in Massachusetts.

According to CBS News, Mark Mansbach, a New Jersey travel agent with two decades of experience, recently discovered that hotels were canceling reservations for the upcoming Arm-Navy game in order to house migrants after many of his clients began complaining that their hotel rooms had been canceled.

“They were leasing out the hotels to the state of Massachusetts for refugees,” Mansbach said after discussing the issue with three hotels under Giri Hotel Management.

According to Mansbach, the hotels have canceled at least 70 of his clients’ reservations. Mansbach noted that Giri Hotel Management is working in conjunction with Massachusetts to provide housing for migrants under state’s right to shelter law. As a result of the hotel company’s ongoing partnership with the state to provide migrant housing, hotel rooms that were already booked for the Army-Navy football game have been canceled.

While a spokesperson for Giri Hotel Management did not directly address news of the Army-Navy football game reservations being canceled, the spokesperson told WBZ-TV that the company is dedicated “to providing shelter and support to refugees at our hotels.”

READ MORE: Video: NY Gov tells migrants ‘go somewhere else’ after inviting them ‘with open arms’

“As a gesture of solidarity and humanitarian responsibility, we are opening our doors to those seeking refuge in our community,” a company statement to WBV-TV explained. “We look forward to working with local authorities and organizations to ensure a smooth transition for all those who will call our hotels home during their time with us.” 

Democratic Gov. Maura Healey addressed the cancellation issue Wednesday. “I am very distressed to learn that any veteran may have been moved from a hotel, who had booked a hotel for that game,” Healey stated. “As I understand it, those were decisions made by area hotels.” 

The Massachusetts governor explained that she had directed the Office of Veteran Services to investigate the issue. Additionally, the Office of Veteran Services told WBZ-TV that the agency has been in contact with those affected by the hotel cancelations to assist any veterans who are in need of a hotel room for the Army-Navy game.

Mansbach told WBZ-TV that the sudden cancellation of hotel reservations for migrant housing is something he has not had trouble with before.

“I have never had a hotel take rooms back and give me nothing,” he said. “They sent out cancellations and walked away. Some people (clients) have decided not to go, and others found space in Boston. Some I have been able to put into other hotels that I had space left in.” 

The hotel reservation issue has led to backlash from Republican lawmakers. State Rep. Steven Xiarhos commented on the issue, pointing out what he described as the irony of the situation.

“How ironic,” he said. “One of the biggest football games in America at Gillette Stadium, the home of the New England Patriots, that we can’t find rooms for people that have fought for and sacrificed for our country because we have people living in rooms that are not from this country.”

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.