Immigrants concerned over changes to general assistance law

Immigrants concerned over changes to general assistance law

Immigrants across the state of are concerned that they might lose the assistance by the state to buy food and housing under new guidelines backed by government.

Republican governor Paul LePage is working to ensure that immigrants, who are not able to prove their legal status, are not eligible to collect general assistance, which is a municipal welfare program helping people to pay for food and housing. The administration said that the authorities are required to conserve its limit resources and said that the changes are under federal law.

City municipalities in the state of Maine have said that they are not likely to implement a decision by the Department of Health and Human Services that would change eligibility requirements for General Assistance.

Agroup representing about 490 municipalities in the state are urging towns and cities not to comply with the change in rules. Geoff Herman, director of state and federal relations at the Maine Municipal Association has pointed out that the changes in the rules will make the situation difficult for the municipalities across the state. He went on to say that the decision is beyond the authority of the DHHS.

The new change prevents state money from being used to provide assistance to illegal immigrants. However, opponents claim that the change has been made outside the rulemaking process outlined in the Administrative Procedures Act and thus exceeds the authority of the DHHS. The changes will also have to be approved by Maine Attorney General Janet Mills.