Another month, another pointless, misinformed attack on immigrants from Gov. Paul LePage.

In February, it was his contention that asylum seekers bring “foreign type diseases” to Maine, a continuation of his years-long slander against a tiny population of residents that is far more blessing than burden, but which he paints as dangerous and needy.

Now it is a late session bill, brought forward on LePage’s behalf by Rep. Larry Lockman, R-Amherst, that targets a nonexistent problem, and likely only exists to capitalize on the fear and anxiety against immigrants that politicians like LePage and Lockman have been sowing for years.


House Democrats killed the bill using a rare procedural maneuver, mirroring some of LePage’s tactics, and giving Republicans an opportunity to call the move out as obstructionist and anti-democratic, and to draw attention away from the bill’s content.

We would have preferred that they had defeated the bill on its merits and forced its supporters to identify themselves.


But we can understand the Democrats’ frustration at once again having to defend immigrants in Maine against baseless attacks, and to spend time on worthless legislation that does nothing to address the challenges the state faces.

In fact, L.D. 1652 is probably worse than worthless – it reinforces the right-wing narrative on immigration that has only gained steam during the rise of Donald Trump, who LePage now backs for president.

It says that the problems faced by the white working class – stagnant wages, few opportunities for advancement – are the fault of people who don’t look like them. “Those people,” the narrative goes, are a danger to your way of life, and to your personal safety.

L.D. 1652 would have withheld state general purpose aid for schools, revenue sharing and General Assistance funds from municipalities that refuse to share immigration information with federal authorities or prohibit a police officer from asking about a subject’s immigration status.

The bill appears to take aim at so-called “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies.



Sanctuary cities are more myth than anything else – local ordinances do not stop federal agencies from doing their job, and even in places like San Francisco with such ordinances, federal agents and local police work together often.

What’s more, there are no sanctuary cities in Maine, despite the governor’s claims otherwise. There are no demonstrated problems here with undocumented immigrants, either, and immigrants pose no undue threat to public safety.

A stubborn portion of residents don’t believe any of that, however. Politicians have stoked anti-immigrant fears for years, and now they are capitalizing on those fears by claiming to have the solution.

Maine should be above that.

The move by the Democrats made this debate about parliamentary procedure. Instead, it should be about the governor demonizing a small, vulnerable portion of the population with nothing to back it up.

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