Im­mi­gra­tion de­bate roils pol­i­tics in ... Maine?

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

LEWIS­TON, Maine (AP) — In the whitest U.S. state, thou­sands of miles from the Mex­i­can border, the de­bate over im­mi­gra­tion is be­com­ing a cen­tral is­sue in one of the na­tion’s most closely watched gov­er­nor’s races.

With its close-knit com­mu­ni­ties and a prac­tice of la­bel­ing non-na­tives as “from away,” Main­ers have a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing in­su­lar. But they have also em­braced the need for im­mi­grants as the state’s pop­u­la­tion ages and de­clines.

So Repub­li­can Gov. Paul LePage roiled the cul­tural wa­ters when he crit­i­cized the fed­eral govern­ment’s place­ment of eight im­mi­grant chil­dren in Maine with­out ad­vis­ing him.

He said Mon­day that the fed­eral govern­ment was duck­ing its re­spon­si­bil­ity by leav­ing the border un­pro­tected and push­ing the bur­den onto states. He said he wor­ries about the fi­nan­cial im­pact if more chil­dren are placed in the state.

“If we have eight kids in the state right now and if there are any state dol­lars go­ing there, there are eight Main­ers not get­ting ser­vices,” he said dur­ing a visit to a home­less shel­ter in Lewis­ton. “There’s not an end­less pot of money up there.”

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