By Robert E. Macdonald
Mayor of Lewiston
Thank you, Governor Paul LePage, for standing up for the working people, Maine taxpayers and the local property taxpayers in keeping your promise to address the welfare problems facing our state.
Maine taxpayers are compassionate people. They are always ready to help others who find themselves needing a temporary hand up to get over one of life’s bumps. This is called compassion.
Then we have those who expend their energies in not finding a job or getting an education. No, they spend their time insuring that state welfare continues as their preferred lifestyle. For many, it’s generational. Others swarm from place to place, devouring benefits and decimating one fertile place after another.
Public objection to this type of behavior does not show a lack of compassion, but sends a message: the taxpaying public will not be a mark (victim) to be played by these hustlers.
During my two-and-a-half years as mayor, Lewiston staff and I have repeatedly wasted time, gas and toll payments traveling to Augusta attempting to reform our current welfare laws. We have been stroked by local Democrats, who feign concern of the problem, then do absolutely nothing about it.
It is becoming apparent our local Democrats fear these liberal social-justice organizations, such as the Maine Civil Liberties Union, Maine Equal Justice Partners and Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, much more than the wrath of the voters.
Enter Governor LePage. He has taken our liberal Democrats, along with the rest of the Maine Democratic Party, out of their comfort zone. They can no longer pay lip service to the public and continue to ignore Maine’s welfare problems.
They now must respond. And respond they have—but not on the side of the Maine taxpayers. No, welfare reform apparently goes against the liberal Democrats’ beliefs. Anyone applying for Maine state benefits must be given aid, they say. The battle is now focused on illegal undocumented aliens, a group referred to as asylum seekers.
In Maine, we have many refugees. These are people who have fled the violence of their native country to the safety of refugee camps in bordering countries. Here they linger for months and years before they are finally resettled.
Then we have the group that has the Democratic Party and their left-wing liberal allies have mobilized. Asylum seekers are people who enter our country usually on a valid visa issued by the U.S. government.
They come as tourists, students and workers who come to the United States to fill job obligations. An example of this would be the Canadian nationals who played for the Lewiston MAINEiacs hockey team. Many, upon expiration of their visas, fail to return home asking for asylum, stating they fear for their safety and their life.
This fails the smell test. Visas are issued after the person applying has been investigated by the issuing embassy, which through their investigation has concluded the person being issued the visa will return home upon expiration. Unlike refugees who flee with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, asylum seekers leave the comfort of their homes, buy a plane ticket and journey to the United States. No refugee camps for them.
Now we have Maine’s Democratic Attorney General telling Governor LePage he will be violating the Constitution if he cuts off aid to these illegal aliens—even though federal law prohibits states from providing this kind of assistance to illegal aliens. This while the progressive Democrats and their allies circle the cities and towns of Maine like vultures, threatening lawsuits if any dare follow the Governor’s lead.
Thus, according to the liberal Democrats and their allies, your constitutional right to keep the money you have earned through hard work is trumped by the right of illegal aliens to take it.
Next week, we will discuss what’s being done at the federal level to address this problem.