Update January 13th: More here by Daniel Greenfield at Frontpage mag.
Leftist community organizers bused them in to the state capital from Portland and Lewiston, the twin hubs of the Somali/immigrant centers in Maine.
The Portland Press Herald story begins with an immigrant success story, a man who made it in Maine having come from a non-Muslim country. Of course to persuade you how much refugees contribute they aren’t going to tell you about the asylum-seeking/welfare mooching Tsarnaev family nor Esar Met in Utah (the horror I will get back to shortly).
Here is the Portland Press Herald where the words ‘asylum seekers’ feature prominently in the title to gain your sympathy (hat tip: pungentpeppers). Emphasis is mine:
On Friday, he [the star of their story] was among more than 100 people who turned out to oppose a proposed rule change that would prohibit hundreds of asylum seekers and some other immigrants from receiving General Assistance while waiting for their work permits.
“This is what the program was designed for – to help people with similar situations become self-sufficient,” he said.
Immigrants, attorneys, faith leaders and advocates for the poor urged the Department of Health and Human Services to withdraw the proposal, saying it is illegal, mean-spirited and morally wrong. They argued that it would cut off a life line for many people who arrive in Maine and apply for asylum – a process that can take years.
The rule change is being proposed by Gov. Paul LePage’s administration. The governor has made welfare reform a priority in his three years in office, and a major theme of his re-election campaign. [Gee, maybe Gov. Christie could try something bold like this!—ed]
Asylum-seekers do not get on federal welfare until they have been granted asylum. Remember that! It was mentioned in our gay Russian post recently. Refugees resettled by the US State Department and their federal contractors get taxpayer goodies immediately (see our fact sheet).
The change would align Maine’s program with federal aid programs, which don’t provide benefits to immigrants until they have been in the country for five years, said DHHS spokesman John Martins. General Assistance is funded entirely by the state and local governments, and is based now only on financial need, not citizenship status. Cities or towns that want to provide the aid could continue to do so, without state money, Martins said.
Advocates estimate that as many as 1,000 immigrants who are seeking asylum in Maine would lose access to General Assistance. [Maine has that many in the court system seeking asylum? I don’t believe it.—ed]
Opponents of the rule change were bused from Portland and Lewiston, cities with significant immigrant populations, for a hearing Friday before DHHS officials in Augusta.
The change would affect primarily new immigrants who are not yet citizens and are not refugees resettled here by the federal government. [Catholic Charities is the primary federal resettlement contractor in Maine—ed]
The taxpayers of Maine are paying a lot of money to support all these immigrants on welfare:
In fiscal year 2012, Maine communities provided a total of $17.5 million in General Assistance, $13.2 million of which came from the state budget, according to the DHHS. Portland provided $9.6 million in General Assistance to 4,376 individuals and families in the last fiscal year, with 90 percent of that money spent on food and shelter, according to the city.
Of the total spent, $2.4 million came from property taxpayers and $7.2 million came from the state [taxpayers!–ed].
Now get this! Somali community leader says they are the future of Maine [and you better take care of us!—ed].
“This proposed rule will result in increased homelessness and hunger for immigrant women and their children,” said Fatuma Hussein, the director of Somali Women of Maine. “We are the future of Maine. We are the face of Maine. The face of Maine is changing.”
Here is our previous post on Governor LePage’s initiative. Go here for all of our extensive coverage on Lewiston, and here on our coverage of Maine (lots of crimes and welfare fraud stories). One of our top posts of all time at RRW is this one: Somali migration to Maine: it’s the welfare magnet, stupid!