Maine’s Governor Mills Demonstrates How to Exploit a Border Crisis Step-by-Step
You’d think small-state politicians would learn from, and prudently avoid, repeating the immigration mistakes made by large states like California and New York that have embraced sanctuary policies resulting in costs, crime, and chaos. And you’d think any responsible public official might heed Oliver Wendell Holmes’ advice, “Learn from the mistakes of others … You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”
But then of course there’s Maine Governor, Janet Mills, who appears determined to defy common sense by methodically putting in place almost every policy that has been proven time and again to worsen illegal immigration.
- During her inaugural address in January 2019 — at the same time 18,000 low-income Mainers were on waiting lists for state-subsidized housing — Gov. Mills welcomed “as family” the growing surge of largely low-income, lowly-skilled migrants mostly from East African and Middle Eastern nations into the state, promising to do everything she could to expedite emergency-relief money.
- In July 2019, Gov. Mills did just that, expanding aid for hundreds of asylum-seekers by granting General Assistance (GA) vouchers. While her administration claimed the new regulations would add “several hundred thousand dollars, not more than a million dollars,” facts now suggest otherwise. Although migrant expenses are only a part of Maine’s GA expenditures, its budget has “mysteriously” jumped to $32 million for 2023, almost triple previous year averages. “Mysterious” only because Gov. Mills supports a system in which Maine municipalities don’t identify non-citizens on the GA rolls — or in any other system — thus hiding migrant costs.
- In May of 2023, while every shelter in Southern Maine, including Portland’s large Convention Center, was filled to capacity with migrants, Gov. Mills signed a bill ordering Maine’s labor commissioner to petition the federal government for a waiver allowing asylum seekers to work while awaiting final determinations on their claims, thus potentially incentivizing further rounds of migrants into the Pine Tree State. According to the governor’s office, “Letting asylum seekers work is a move that would benefit Maine employers in need of workers that would reduce strain on state and municipal budgets.” (Even if the federal government reversed its prohibition allowing asylum seekers to instantly get work authorization, most of these workers would be low-wage and thus eligible for subsidies. They would not be net contributors to the tax base.)
- In August of 2023, despite the escalating housing shortages and costs associated with thousands of migrants taking up residence in Southern Maine, Gov. Mills announced she would not declare a state of emergency as Massachusetts and New York had done – clearly to avoid drawing attention to a crisis she fueled…one that is nonetheless apparent to everyone.
- Also in August of 2023, Gov. Mills signed an executive order to create a Maine state Office of New Americans to attract an additional 15,000 “New Mainers” per year over five years – a breathtaking 500 percent annual increase over current levels of in-migration; “New Mainers” being the governor’s euphemistic umbrella term for asylum seekers, refugees, and illegal aliens.
Throughout her tenure, Gov. Mill has resisted all efforts to pass anti-sanctuary legislation which, if enacted, would end the migrant turmoil in Maine’s biggest city of Portland and slow the cost and impact now spilling out across the state. Migrants are arriving at a rate of about 3,000 per year in Portland, overwhelming homeless shelters and hotels and budgets, at the same time Maine has insufficient funds to pay its bills: The state had a $1.9 billion shortfall 2022, and ranks 29th out of 50 states for taxpayer burdens.
As Larry Lockman, a former member of the Maine House of Representatives Member, observed, “Given that reality, a sober governor with sober advisors would hit the pause button and take steps to discourage immigrants from heading to Maine after they breach the southern border. With barely 3,000 housing units available statewide in this extremely tight real estate and rental market, that’s what a prudent chief executive would do. But sober thinking and prudence aren’t among Janet’s strong suits. Rather than tapping the brakes, Mills is mashing down on the accelerator.”
Maine’s migrant crisis isn’t exploding because Gov. Mills has failed to learn the lessons of other states, or because she doesn’t recognize the harm sanctuary policies inflict on citizens. She knows, but just doesn’t care. Instead, Gov. Mills is deliberately and systematically encouraging illegal immigration to the state to advance her own political agenda and serve narrow ideological interests at the expense of the broad public interest.
Mainers are already learning some harsh lessons as a result of the Mills Mayhem being inflicted upon them: When those in power fail to discourage illegal immigration – or even encourage it – citizens suffer, and migrants are treated like political pawns. Those aren’t American values, certainly not Maine values, and the governor has a lot to answer for.