Notice to Sanctuary Cities from Small Town America: Clean Up Your Own Mess
Unity, Maine, is as tranquil and peaceful as its name implies. Incorporated in 1804, this picturesque New England town of 2,292 residents rests in the rolling hills of Waldo County not far inland from the Mid-Coast of the Pine Street State. It’s off the beaten path, but if by chance you’re nearby, Trip Advisor’s top recommendations are to see the Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm, or sample apple drinks at the Stone Tree Farm and Cidery. The town office’s official – yet quaint – website recommends grabbing a treat at Cone’Z’Ice Cream on Depot Street.
Civically, the town seems to embody the aspiration of one Maine’s late-great Senators, Margaret Chase Smith, “As an American, I want to see our nation recapture the strength and unity it once had when we fought the enemy instead of ourselves.” According to locals, Unity’s small town connectedness has indeed transcended political divides despite the fact its voters are evenly split; in the last presidential election there was only an 11 vote difference between Trump and Biden.
If simple, safe, civil, and bucolic define quality of life, Unity enjoys an abundance.
Meanwhile… 92 miles due south in the urbanized “progressive” hub of Portland, leftist politicians are hatching up a plan for the good citizens of Unity that may change everything, and likely spark quite a bit of disunity.
Portland’s sanctuary policies for illegal aliens, and its official support of NGOs advocating for endless streams of refugees and asylum-seekers over many years have resulted in total chaos. The city received far more than it can handle. Housing, resources, and money are depleted even as migrant flows continue: 1,500 just this year. Out of desperation, the Greater Portland Council of Governments has sent a proposal to state lawmakers calling for 600 asylum seekers — most from East Africa and Middle Eastern countries — to be transferred to Unity, Maine, along with a check request for $7.8 million of taxpayer money to cover expenses.
The intended destination for them is the Unity Environmental University (UEU), a 224-acre campus, largely empty given most of their students are now remote learners. In effect, the entire university would be converted into a transitional – more likely permanent – massive public housing project. If that happened, by definition, Unity would be known as a town where 20 percent of households live in public housing. By comparison, public housing units and Section 8 vouchers combined represent about 4 percent of all households in downtown Detroit.
Good luck selling a house in Unity. Fair or not, that metric would be an instant disqualifier for most prospective home buyers.
And, let not irony be lost here. UEU’s mission statement says, “We’re one of the few environmental science colleges that live our commitment to sustainability in every single thing we do.” Except of course, unless there may be cash on the table. Where is the environmental impact analysis – let alone a cultural consideration – of adding 600 more people, instantly increasing Unity’s population by 26 percent? If the town council wanted to permit the construction of a Walmart or outlet mall, you can bet the university would slow or kill the process.
This plot is all news to Unity. Selectman Tim Parker Jr. said the town has not been approached about the transitional housing. Repeat that: Unity has not been advised about a proposal submitted to state lawmakers that would result in one of the most rapid, non-consensual make-overs of any town in America.
Maybe those Portland bigwig officials just “forgot” to c.c. Unity when they sent their proposal to revamp the little town.
If all this sounds familiar it’s because it’s identical to New York’s self-imposed migrant crisis similarly caused by zealous sanctuary policies and arrogant public officials. Like Portland, New York City is out of resources and wants to “export” their migrant problem. After all, as Mayor Eric Adams has said, there “108,000 cities, villages, and towns” in America.
This is a new trend likely to expand given that open-border policies have incentivized 5.5 million migrants to enter the U.S. since Biden took office. Most head straight for large sanctuary cities and now, one-by-one, besieged local officials are scrambling to pass them off down the line.
At the end of the receiving line are the residents of Unity, Maine (and those like them), who pretty much mind their own business and show no complicity with those enacting policies that create chaos; thus, it is unfair for them to suffer the result. Until legal remedies are identified (and we’re examining that) the best option for Unity citizens is to sternly give Portland officials and state lawmakers the same directive “Mom” gave all of us:
“Don’t expect others to clean up your mess. Clean it up yourself.”