The crime committed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina is yet another maddening and sad act of hate. Here in Maine there is another act of hate and sadness occurring, and we can act now to stop it.
Our Governor has enacted a state policy of denying General Assistance funding to municipalities for the support of about 1,000 asylum seekers who have fled their homelands and are living legally here in Maine. These people have arrived here, many from African countries, after traumatic experiences including war, rape, murder of family members, persecution based on their identities or political views, and imminent threat of death. They deserve our love and support, not rejection and dismissal.
Our state legislature has passed LD 369, which would allow legally-present non-citizens, including asylum seekers, to receive General Assistance for basic living requirements such as shelter, food, and clothing for up to 24 months. Since federal law prohibits asylum seekers from working while their petitions are pending, General Assistance is truly the only option for meeting essential needs. A veto from the Governor is certain. Legislators need to hear from their constituents that they must override a veto of LD 369.
Let’s not stand aside and believe someone else will stop a tragedy. Let us use our power for good instead of being complicit in a denial of basic human rights to those new Mainers who are here legally and have already suffered unspeakable acts because of who they are.
You can make a difference by calling or writing your State Senators and Representatives and ask them to protect GA for asylum seekers by overriding a Governor’s veto of LD 369 Find your state legislators in the Maine House and Senate here: http://bit.ly/mainelookup
When you call, be sure to say your name and town and the message (in your own words):
Please protect General Assistance and other life-saving programs for people lawfully seeking asylum and other Maine immigrants by overriding the veto on LD 369.
These individuals and families have left horrific circumstances to seek refuge in our country.
Immigrants contribute to our communities and our economy and provide a much needed workforce in our aging state.
It is important that we make sure all Maine families get the help they need to have shelter and food. It’s the right thing to do.
Thank you so much for taking action to support all Maine families!