‘Welcoming’ Governor Digs Deeper Hole in Maine

Maine Gov. Janet Mills warmly welcomed immigrants as “family” in her inaugural address last January. Now that hundreds of asylum seekers from Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have landed in her state, Mills is calling on Uncle Sam to expedite emergency-relief money to accommodate the influx.

Mills, a Democrat, opened Maine’s cash spigot last month when she issued an executive order enabling more migrants to receive state welfare benefits. Welfare for non-citizens was a flash point in the final days of the 2019 legislative session. Though the Maine House voted largely along party lines to allow asylum seekers to qualify for General Assistance and other welfare programs, the Senate never acted on the bill. Maine officials conservatively estimate that the governor’s unilateral move will cost the state “several hundred thousand dollars, not more than a million dollars.”  

Mills said she wanted to “welcome a workforce that is right on our doorstep and put them on the path to employment to build and strengthen our economy.” Yet the governor’s vision is fuzzy and her jobs-for-migrants gambit is problematic.

First, federal law bars asylum seekers from legal employment for six months while their status is determined in immigration court. 

Second, tens of thousands Mainers are currently out of work. The state has a lower labor participation rate than the U.S. average and its unemployment rate is higher than neighboring Vermont and New Hampshire. Some 20 percent of Maine jobs lost during the Great Recession haven’t returned.

The financially strapped state “owes more than it owns,” piling up $9.9 billion in liabilities vs. $6.4 billion in assets, according to the nonpartisan State Data Lab.

While Augusta rolls out the welcome mat to migrants from across the globe, the number of Maine children living in “deep poverty” (half the federal poverty level) is rising eight times faster in America’s “Vacationland” than anywhere else in the country. And as officials shuttle migrants into new lodging, some 18,000 low-income Mainers remain stuck on waiting lists for state-subsidized housing.

Gov. Mills has yet to explain how hundreds of non-English speaking asylees — many of them poor, poorly educated and low-skilled — will be anything other than a drain on an already-strained public assistance system. But her actions indicate why she is seeking more funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Meantime, Maine is doubling down on irresponsibility.

Aaron Frey, who succeeded Mills as state attorney general, last week joined a lawsuit opposing the Trump administration’s broadened definition of who is considered a public charge and ineligible for citizenship based on use of government aid programs, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and housing assistance.

Frey, a Democrat, also signed onto a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s new asylum policy. The rule, which requires asylum seekers to request refuge in countries they traversed before reaching the U.S., is a commonsense reform designed to slow the run on the border and ease the burden on states, including Maine.

Instead of engaging in faux munificence and counterproductive courtroom crusades, Mills & Co. should get their state’s dilapidated house in order, and heed the time-honored advice: When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.

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  1. avatar

    State who welcome immigrant can pick up the costs. Don’t obligated the tax payer on anything they do not have control of. So Maine pick up the complete cost.

  2. avatar
    mildred deribas-eckhardt on

    Across the U.S. states are trying to allocate funds they do not have toward saving our natural resources. We live in a nation that cannot find funds to help our own citizens. It does not matter if you are a citizen the un documented people want all things to be handed to them.. And some of our own citizens are wearing blinders concerning our own people. Why do people in power put illegals first?? Those same people should vacate the U.S. they are traitors. I am angry on behalf of the less fortunate citizens who are being pushed onto the streets to make room for noncitizens. Noncitizens are breaking the law and then being rewarded for doing same.

  3. avatar

    Every state by political necessity must accept a number of migrants proportional to the number other states accept. The political necessity is the maintenance of parity in Congressional Representation after the coming Census based re-apportionment.

    It does not matter as to from where the migrants arrive from, hmm, would an invading military force also have to be counted for the purposes of apportionment? Something to explore in alternative history literature.

    So, if you don’t want to lose out, entice more migrants to settle, at least until after the census.

  4. avatar

    Glad I moved the hell out of there years ago. Sad when your “governor” welcomes “newcomers” when she can’t even take are of her OWN people there in Maine. The people should vote her OUT the next time around.

  5. avatar


  6. avatar

    “Mills is calling on Uncle Sam to expedite emergency-relief money to accommodate the influx.

    If Governor Mills wants to turn her beautiful state into a global flophouse, she should get the taxpayers of Maine to foot the bill. My state has its own “refugee” population to support.

  7. avatar

    What happened to America first. Close the borders ,to everyone. Eliminate the multi trillion dollar debt first then select immigrants that can support themselves. These people should stay in their country and fix it period. Democrats are destroying America because of there socialistic politics. Jobs for American s first Trump has some great ideas

  8. avatar

    We have been sold out by BOTH political parties on the immigration issue, both legal and illegal.
    Our last 5Presidents refused to enforce our immigration laws, they flooded the US with a tsunami of legal immigrants. They did this through chain migration, amnesty and their “let’m all in” policy letting in those from every 3rd world Hellhole on the planet. American citizens were given the privilege of paying for all of this plus generations of their children .Any nation stupid enough to import it’s own killers has a serious problem with their elected officials.
    IMO we have passed the point of no return. If what’s left of America is to be saved it’s going to be up to American citizens to do it. Don’t hold your breath waiting for this to happen.

  9. avatar

    “Maine Gov. Janet Mills warmly welcomed immigrants as “family” , , , ” and then: “Mills is calling on Uncle Sam to expedite emergency-relief money to accommodate the influx.”

    What colossal nerve! She wants to virtue signal and play the big-hearted, caring politician, and have the American taxpayers pay for it! The only rational response to that is, “Up yours, Ms. Governor, you invited them, let YOUR state taxpayers pay for them.” Let’s see what your chances for re-election are when your people start feeling the pinch.

  10. avatar

    I’m thinking Frey should be getting permission from the CITIZENS of Maine to enter into all these ridiculous and frivolous lawsuits against President Trump’s efforts to SECURE our country and protect the RIGHTS OF CITIZENS! Wasting time, energy, money on something that he shouldn’t be involved in that ONLY benefits the ILLEGALS!

  11. avatar

    There are some 18,400 American People in Maine who have been on the waiting list for years for housing. Now, this Governor of Maine seems to care only for migrants. How sad that the Maine taxpayers will be paying dearly for those migrants and when they get their free cell phone they will call all of their countrymen and invade the United States by the millions.

  12. avatar
    Raymond Paltoo on

    We could have told her that would be the result but they would have cried Racism!. They never listen. They don’t care about poor Americans but will run up the debt seeing about these foreigners who have yet to contribute to America!

  13. avatar

    We Need the Republican Primaries

    So voters have a GOP choice, even with Trump winning for sure. These Democratic primaries are like OVERPOPULATION sewage getting mixed into clean water. My gosh, the New Green Deal and the Squad Israel Haters are taken seriously as an alternative to Trump….the Open Border Party leads in the polls over Trump, because Trump is called horrifying names and blamed for what his opponents do [Russian Witch Hunt]…and when is the DOJ gonna get the FISA Dossier documents? 2022?

    We put the world’s recession on Trump’s back because of fair trade. America first. Its that simple.

    What agenda is Biden Pushing? I don’t know and either does Biden IMO. its just anti-Trump bashing…

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  15. avatar

    So she issues an executive order “enabling more migrants to receive state benefits”. And they are suing to stop Trump’s “public charge” policy of having to support yourself if you come here? But aren’t we always told that they aren’t eligible for state benefits? Isn’t that the talking point? And that they are a big plus for the economy?

    But when they actually go to a particular area then they’re a burden that the federal govt. is supposed to pay for? How full of it can you get? How many sides of your mouth can you talk out of at the same time. Say one thing one minute and then undercut your previous argument the next minute? And these are the people who claim to be realistic?

    Back in May Trump proposed sending illegal crossers to sanctuary jurisdictions like South Florida. Naturally the local politicians pitched a fit and the South Florida Sun Sentinel said there would be an initial expense but everything would turn out ok in the end. One of the examples they gave was the Mariel boatlift in 1980 and how “within six years most had found jobs and were prospering”.

    Guess they missed the reporting in their own paper from 1985 that documented the huge percentage of Mariel boaters, far more than their share of the population, in the Dade County jails.