On behalf of the NAACP Portland Branch, I want to express our sincere dismay at the recent announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services that the state of Maine will no longer provide reimbursement to municipalities for General Assistance to immigrants and asylum seekers without documents.

We support Attorney General Janet Mills’ statement that the rule change is illegal because it does not follow the process required for such a change: namely, to bring it to the Legislature and put it to a public hearing and discussion.

Furthermore, the proposal would violate the equal protection clauses in the Maine and U.S. Constitutions, and would create an unfunded mandate for municipalities that would be charged with investigating an applicant’s immigration status.

As the attorney general has stated, this new procedure is completely illegal, but it seems the administration is content to go forward anyway. This outcome will be disastrous for the human beings who are most affected – people in our cities that have fled persecution and are just trying to get started in a new land. It will also add an unnecessary burden to municipal operations throughout the state.

As the people of Maine who have a long history of fighting for freedom and justice, and protecting the civil and human rights of all, we must stand together to voice our outrage and objection.

No human being is illegal. Every human being is deserving of our care and concern.

The Rev. Dr. Myke Johnson

Executive Committee, NAACP Portland Branch

North Yarmouth