Maine Gov. LePage clamps down on cities that give handouts to illegals

Maine Gov. LePage clamps down on cities that give handouts to illegals

Maine’s largest city has begun clamping down on spending as newly re-elected Republican Governor Paul LePage makes good on a campaign promise to cut funding to cities and towns that give aid to undocumented immigrants.

In an internal memo released on Wednesday, Portland city officials said they had frozen hiring and cut travel and overtime spending after their requests for reimbursement from the state for assistance provided to families with children in emergencies had gone unanswered since July.

The budget shortfall could grow to as much as $3 million this year, city officials said, a hefty sum that underscores the increasingly local impact of the tense congressional standoff over national immigration reform. …

Tea Party-backed LePage, who was re-elected last week with a strong mandate to reform the state’s welfare system, had threatened in June to cut funding to municipalities that give state-reimbursed general assistance to undocumented immigrants.

“Tell your city councilors and selectmen to stop handing out your money to illegals,” LePage said in a radio address. …

LePage contends he is enforcing an 18-year-old federal law that supersedes state law. …

In July, the Maine Municipal Association, Portland and neighboring Westbrook jointly sued the state, arguing the administration had failed to hold public hearings before issuing the new policy.

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