A new Op-Ed from the Boston Herald by Paul LePage claims that while the city of Portland, Maine is welcoming in an influx of migrants, the needy Americans in the city and going without.
NPR reported that like the families from Central America, Africans are traveling great distances after seeing thousands gain entry to the United States in recent months.
Border Patrol agents in the Del Rio sector of South Texas recently took into custody more than 500 migrants in just one week, mostly families from the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Angola.
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The former governor of Maine is speaking out and educating Americans on how liberal policies are destroying our cities.
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By Paul LePage
As The Wall Street Journal reported in January of this year, Portland, Maine, is in a crisis from large numbers of people crossing the nation’s southern border and making their way here, attracted by our generous welfare services. Congress’ failure to work with President Trump to resolve the crisis at the border is affecting the entire nation.
On June 14, the governor of Maine, Janet Mills, stated: “We’ve been dealt a situation that we’re going to deal with as a broader community, not just the city of Portland.
“The broader community of the people of the state of Maine are going to be lending a hand and helping these people who are in such dire need.”
Yes, the generous people of Maine will help. But Mills is wrong about one thing: The state was not “dealt” this situation. Liberals, living in their echo chamber with their partners in the media, created this migrant crisis in Portland, and she played a role.
During my eight years as governor of Maine, I implemented major welfare reforms to limit dependence on government and grow our workforce. My goal was always to direct our limited resources to Maine’s neediest, especially our elderly and people with intellectual disabilities.
State programs that serve these groups have long had waitlists and despite my proposals to eliminate them by fully funding those services, the Democrat-led legislature instead used those funds to support Portland’s insatiable welfare programs.
Portland is a wonderful city, but its leaders are reckless. I heeded the wise words of Ronald Reagan, “If you want more of something, subsidize it; if you want less of something, tax it.” Portland’s leaders, encouraged by the liberal media, did not.
Numerous editorials in the Portland Press Herald not only hailed the immigrants as the only way to turn the state’s economy around but also advocated for non-enforcement of immigration laws and expanding welfare programs to virtually all non-citizens. In February, the editorial page editor proclaimed, “Portland has problems, now and looming in the future. But ‘overrun with immigrants’? Please. We should be so lucky.”
And a columnist, referencing the plan announced last week to warehouse migrants in a Portland sports arena, urged Mainers “to not look at what’s going on down at the Expo as a crisis and see it as a wise and warmhearted investment in our shared future.”
It’s a major investment, all right. In just the month of September last year, Portland paid more than $125,000 in General Assistance aid to 273 asylum seekers.
The leaders of Portland — and the liberal activists whose nonprofits benefit from state-funded contracts to serve these populations — know that to keep the money flowing, the state must pick up the tab.
While I was governor, then-Attorney General Janet Mills sided with liberal activists, suing my administration to ensure unfettered access to welfare by non-citizens. As a result, Portland likely has the most generous welfare benefits for non-citizens of any city in the nation.
Well, word gets around. Desperate municipal and state officials throughout the country, and especially along the nation’s southern border, viewed sending migrants to Maine as a means of alleviating a bit of the financial burden they are bearing. For the cost of a bus ticket, people are out of their shelters on their way to ours.
Of course Maine should be a welcoming state and we must help these newcomers, but we are also a poor one with many residents with serious needs still ignored by the liberals in Augusta. In addition to our waitlists, our nursing homes are closing. We have homeless veterans and homeless families who need places in shelters and affordable housing.
Now Portland is opening up shelter beds for asylum seekers while denying those same beds to Maine people in need.
Accepting and assimilating a mass influx of immigrants requires planning and resources. It’s hard work. Liberals in Portland wanted to be welcoming. But they made no attempt to plan for how to bring these people to Maine and what to do with them when they got here. It is bad public policy as well as unconscionable to attract people here with the promise of benefits and support that you cannot provide.
And their plan to have the state provide it, which Gov. Mills has vowed to do, is problematic, too. Her budget didn’t plan for a rainy day and spent virtually all the money Maine had in a massive expansion of government. Now people are showing up at our door.
Gov. Mills is going to have to find a way to solve this problem. It’s either going to be cut services or find more money.
She should have paid more attention to Ronald Reagan.