Maine brain drain! Reverse it with asylum seekers says developer turned spiritualist

Richard Berman stands in front of Hope House. Berman wants to welcome asylum seekers to brain-drained Maine!

He says the City of Portland “gets it,” but the rest of Maine needs to “wake up!”

We’ve learned recently that as many as 70% of asylum claims are fraudulent, then there is the big NYT story about the Chinese frauds, and just this morning we learned of a large asylum fraud bust in Maryland, but if Mainers, like Richard Berman, want to lure them to Portland with free housing (welfare) until their claims are processed, Maine can have them if they promise to keep them!

Here is the story from the Bangor Daily News. Hat tip: Joanne.  Head honchos from the US State Department were in Maine last week for a PR tour.

PORTLAND, Maine — From home to school to work, the lives of refugees and asylum seekers received closer looks from federal and city officials this week.

On Friday, Feb. 21, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard visited Portland Adult Education and several local businesses to see how refugees and resettlement agencies are faring. Richard was accompanied by Lawrence Bartlett, state department director of refugee admissions.

Asylum seekers are not eligible for welfare nationally until their claims are approved, but in Maine, as we mentioned here recently, they do get welfare support and now they get housing thanks to developer/philanthropist/spiritualist Richard Berman.

On Tuesday, Mayor Michael Brennan cut the ribbon at ceremonies marking the opening of Hope House at 14 Sherman St. The apartment house has been home to 13 Africans seeking political asylum for almost six months.

Hope House, which was bought by developer Richard Berman and operated by the nonprofit Hope Acts, solves the most basic question asylum seekers such as Hugues Ingabire, 21, face when they arrive in Portland.

Berman says that Maine doesn’t have enough brains so they need asylum seekers and refugees to make up the shortfall.

Berman said welcoming and getting asylum seekers settled is a benefit to Maine’s future.

“This is the reverse of the brain drain,” he said.

Berman:  Wake up Maine!

Publicist Jen Dimond said she wants Brennan and other Hope House visitors to see the success of the collaboration between Berman and Hope Acts because it is understood the city does not have the resources to provide the full measure of help to refugees and asylum seekers.

Berman said city officials are doing what they can, even though there are limits.

“It seems like the city gets it,” he said. ‘It is the state that needs to wake up.”

So who is Richard Berman—the brain behind the plan for Portland?

Here is an article from last September that tells you all you need to know!

PORTLAND – Richard Berman is not your typical developer

Over the last 40 years, Berman has gained a reputation as a philanthropist, as well as a developer who values community engagement, “smart growth,” historic preservation and affordable housing.

Berman is drawn to mysticism and meditation. He was born and raised Jewish, before turning to Eastern religions. He now attends St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Cape Elizabeth and serves on the Maine Council of Churches.

“Just because you’re a real estate developer doesn’t mean you’re not spiritual,” Berman quipped.

Next month, the Cape Elizabeth resident will turn 68 years old and steer a new course in his career. Berman says will “semi-retire” so he can turn more of his full-time attention to philanthropic endeavors, without having to worry about profit margins.

“I want to turn my talent and treasures to good use,” Berman said. “I’m turning my attention to more spiritual matters like immigration and homelessness.”

Do-gooder-itis?  Or something else?

For new readers, we have an extensive archive on Maine, here. Be sure to check out one of our top posts for the last few years (from 2009)—-Maine the welfare magnet—about how the US State Department and Catholic Charities helped start the migrant stampede to Maine.

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