Here we go again.

A few weeks ago, Paul LePage appeared alongside immigrants at their so-called “multicultural community center” in Portland, just a mile from where we stood to protest against him a few years back. This time, LePage seemed to present a different tone to rebrand himself the so-called “New LePage who is a friend to immigrants.”

The problem with this is that you can’t come out one day and say you are “friends to the immigrants” when the former governor’s racist remarks still ring in our heads. Paul LePage has not apologized for his previous remarks of degrading members of the New Mainers. Opening a new office in the city where immigrants are thriving is a threat to the peaceful coexistence that has been created thanks to the diversity this city had shown for the past several years.

Abdi Nor Iftin is a Somali-American writer, radio journalist and public speaker. He lives in Yarmouth.

Speaking against LePage is not defending Democrats nor am I voicing support for Janet Mills. But what it seems like LePage is trying to do in Portland now is to split Maine’s immigrants into political rivalries, Republican supporters and Democrat supporters for this upcoming election. We don’t have anything against Republicans or Democrats, but we have everything against any politician who attacks and hurts us. This is why I think LePage should not stand shoulder to shoulder with members of the immigrant community and claim that he cares about the same community that suffered under his leadership.

There are New Mainers who are Republicans and there are other immigrants who are Democrats. There are moderates as well. After all, we live in a free country. People can choose whatever they want to be. But the Maine immigrants deserve answers when a racist former governor visits the city that hosts many immigrants who are working hard and succeeding in so many ways.

Seeing LePage in Portland and hearing his new remarks as he speaks about his own immigration story, the famous Malawian proverb comes to my mind: “A hyena will not change its spots even if it moved to a different forest.” The former governor had already shown his true self and how he sees black and brown communities in Maine. He sees Black Mainers as nothing less than illegal people, bringing drugs into the state, and as those who don’t want to fit in and don’t want to be Americans.

Its been seven years since I moved to Maine. Five of those years as a legal resident and the last two years as an American citizen. I have not voted in any Maine gubernatorial election. And I can’t be happier to be a Maine voter. I want to vote for the Maine we all want to build together. Maine that respects its diversity and accepts the people who are new to the state. I do not think LePage fits in this at all.

The new office is probably going to campaign for LePage’s reelection within the immigrant communities. They may try to divide new Mainers by country, faith or ethnicity. It is time for the Maine immigrant leaders to come together and talk to their communities about the upcoming election. If LePage is elected this November, we will see his good friend Trump visit. We may see his racist rhetoric continue. The immigrant leaders are not saying much about this. They must speak up now, and they must counter campaign. November will be here before we know.

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