In 2007 while traveling in India, Nepal and Tibet, I learned how the experience of seeking asylum and refuge from danger impacts individuals, families and communities.
I met many refugees, and the experience left an indelible mark. I was particularly amazed by the network of support refugees received from host countries that helped them recover and begin contributing to their new communities.
This is why I am dismayed by the LePage administration’s latest effort to withhold General Assistance funds from undocumented immigrants in Maine. Such a mandate is disheartening and unbecoming of a leader for the people of Maine.
Of particular concern should be helping these men, women, and children adjust to life in a new community while preserving their health and well-being. Part of this support should include providing temporary financial assistance to help with health care costs, food and shelter.
Gov. LePage derides Maine as the “sanctuary state.” To provide sanctuary is to provide safety and support.
For immigrants seeking refuge from war, natural disaster or political oppression, Maine has a unique opportunity to contribute to their recovery while also allowing them to enter our workforce, use their skills, and contribute to our community.
Maine should be honored to provide the support refugees and asylum seekers need to make meaningful contributions to our economy, culture and well-being. We should be grateful to be such a sanctuary.
Robert G. Hasson III
Boston and South Portland