LePage: “If You’re A Refugee, I’m All In- If You’re An ‘Asylee’, I’m Skeptical And I’m Concerned”
The first question asked of Governor Paul LePage last night directly took on the administration, in regards to the 150 day wait for those seeking asylum in order to be allowed to work. This has been a huge battle between LePage, DHHS and the Cities of Portland and Westbrook for quite awhile now over funding with ongoing litigation.
A theme LePage has repeated for quite awhile now. From his State of the State address:
- “We have limited resources and we have to stretch them as far as we can go. And one of the elements that has a burden in the last couple years has been those who have receiving funds, but they are here illegally.
Now, am I compassionate about illegal aliens? Yes, I am. I would prefer that they do it the right way, but it’s very expensive, ’cause I’ve gone through that. We brought a young man here and we did it the right way and paid the bill.
But this is the problem with some of the illegals that are here today. When a refugee comes here from a foreign country, they get a medical assessment and we know their health. But when they come here illegally, they don’t get medical assessments.
And one thing that we don’t want to see is the uptick of hepatitis C, HIV and tuberculosis.
But it is here. We are dealing with it. And it is very costly.
So if nothing else, they should be getting a medical assessment when they get here.
And I believe that my responsibility as your governor is number one to Maine residents first and everyone else second.”
Other Republicans in Maine have been very vocal in their views of those who come to Maine seeking asylum, most notably Lewiston Mayor Bob MacDonald. This last night seems on the surface via LePage’s wording to be a reversal of his previous views on refugees.