PORTLAND (AP) — Maine Republican Gov. Paul LePage is arguing the state shouldn’t help “illegal immigrants” by funding cash benefits for legal immigrants seeking political asylum.

LePage’s two-year budget proposal calls for $12 million in cuts to the program, which he’s long railed against.

The governor told WVOMFM on Tuesday that Portland is “the leader” of breaking laws about giving “illegal immigrants” General Assistance.

Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling said LePage should provide evidence for the claim or retract it.

LePage said communities, not the state, should fund “illegal immigrants.”

The Portland Press Herald reported the city’s moved to only use local funding for benefits to immigrants who haven’t applied for asylum yet.

General Assistance recipients must work if they’re physically able and face a two-year cap on cash benefits for basics like rent.

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