Gov. Paul LePage’s proposed cuts to immigrants take Maine in the wrong direction. We are a nation of immigrants. That diversity has made us strong.

LePage’s proposed budget cuts eliminate food assistance for lawfully present immigrants. It is estimated that 420 households including 709 individuals would lose food assistance, according to Maine Equal Justice Partners. How can hungry kids learn in school? LePage’s proposal also seeks to eliminate Temporary Assistance for Needy Families: 35 families, including 75 children, will lose this key support, which assists in providing shelter, heat, and clothing. How does pushing families into homelessness while they are trying to rebuild their lives, strengthen Maine? We are better than this.

Almost every faith tradition has the injunction “to love thy neighbor as thyself.” Churches, synagogues, and mosques know what these harsh cuts will mean for those who are most vulnerable among us. Too many families are facing hunger right now in our community.

We care for our neighbors in this state but LePage seems to have completely forgotten this. Let’s rise above this to build a Maine where compassion and opportunity are truly for all.

The Rev. Allison C. G. Smith
United Church of Christ