The U.S. Senate continues to wrestle with immigration, most recently over a bill to authorize spending for the Department of Homeland Security.

Here in Maine, the General Assistance controversy has Gov. LePage and the Department of Health and Human Services at loggerheads with our cities over benefits for residents.

Portland, with 5 percent of the state’s population, accounts for 63 percent of state GA spending (“Mary Mayhew: Portland’s General Assistance spending is out of whack,” Feb. 21).

A recent editorial seeks to justify this reliance on local and state funding with such assertions as “There would be more people living on the streets” if the program were cut (“Our View: State should not punish Portland with GA cuts,” Feb. 1).

I have my own story.

As I was returning from a camping trip in the Machias area, I passed through Augusta and stopped at a roadside farm market in Manchester. A farm family consisting of the grandmother, the parents and an infant had set up shop next to a convenience store. They had a beat-up old pickup, their clothing was well-worn and they were obviously living on the margin.

I bought some of their tomatoes and potatoes and, as I was driving away, I felt anger at the thought of this poor family paying their taxes to finance the unrestrained, arrogant profligacy of the city of Portland.

Portland is in sharp contrast to Lewiston, where, Mayor Robert Macdonald asserts, many asylum-seekers have been relocated from Portland, contributing to his city’s financial burden (“Lewiston mayor: Stop sending asylum-seekers to city,” WMTW Channel 8, Feb. 14).

Bob Casimiro

Bridgton