Maine governor working to stem the flow of welfare to migrants/asylum seekers
Posted by Ann Corcoran on November 24, 2015
We have written about this Maine problem with the flood of migrants into the state—some are resettled refugees, but others are asylum seekers who have flocked there to enjoy the generosity of Maine’s social service programs while waiting out the legal asylum process. (See my discussion of asylum in an earlier post this morning.)
Here is the latest news, from LifeZette (subheading: Immigrants immediately eligible for welfare, displacing seniors and the needy):
Maine’s Somali community is adding more diversity to the state — and huge new costs, according to a top state official.
Maine’s huge number of refugees and asylum-seekers are heavy welfare users and are putting significant economic strain on the state, Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew.
Speaking on “The Laura Ingraham Show,” Mayhew rejected an argument by a local media outlet that the state’s Somali community could be Maine’s savior.
“Overall, we have seen an increased burden to the infrastructure and the welfare programs in the face of other significant competing priorities for this state, especially related to our rapidly aging population, our elderly,” she said.
Maine has been a popular destination for refugees in recent years, mostly from Somalia and other African countries. Lewiston and Portland have taken the most, with Lewiston’s mayor recently speaking out about the fiscal impact on his city.
Maine Gov. Paul LePage has led a drive to reform social welfare programs for refugees and citizens alike. Since taking office, food stamp use is down by 58,000 people. Fewer people are on Medicaid, as well, Mayhew said.
Here is a great idea for your state!
Mayhew noted that a new work requirement for food stamps for able-bodied people between the ages of 18 and 49 with no children — which included an option of volunteering just one hour a day — knocked many off the program for failure to comply.
Mayhew said LePage has fought against granting welfare benefits to illegal immigrants who have applied for asylum.
Is your state giving welfare benefits to asylum seekers? At the federal level that is prohibited.
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