“If you have the resources, and you feel compassionate for these folks, go ahead and do it, but if you’re going to be taking resources, very, very important resources for your citizens, then you are making a big mistake,” LePage said.
David MacLean, an administrator of Portland’s Social Services Division, is alerting shelters in other parts of the country to discourage people from heading here, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Asylum seekers, who are primarily from African countries, now make up 90 percent of those living in Portland’s city-run family shelters, the report said. Families are filling overflow spaces, having to sleep on floor mats in a gym and cafeteria, the Portland Press Herald reported.
“When they get into housing, you should see the disgraceful housing that these people are being put into in the city of Portland,” LePage said. “I visited this housing, it was housing that I was brought up in, which … gives me nightmares.”
Immigration advocates told the Press Herald that there are also not enough volunteer attorneys to keep up with the “swelling caseloads.”
Jennifer Bailey is the asylum program director at the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project in Maine, which works with arrivals, the Journal reported.
“We have more cases than we’ve ever had,” she told the paper. “The number of people coming is out of sync with resources.”