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Eye on PC NE

Maine, a Sanctuary State
By Marty Lich
Mar 29, 2005 - 2:15:00 PM

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Maine is a sanctuary state with a current 2005 $5.3 billion state debt. Maine is addressing your state budget and debt at this time. State fiscal information, expenditures, and areas of concern are as follows.

Examine the costs of each of these programs and Report recommendations include budget reforms in the areas of state administered health care, the introduction of competitive sourcing to government services, reconfiguration of school administration, the consolidation of non-essential government services, and state asset divestiture. “The structural gap proves that spending in Augusta continues to outpace the Maine taxpayers’ ability to pay,” said Bill Becker, executive director of the Maine Heritage Policy Center. The report is available online at The Maine Heritage Policy Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational organization formulates and promotes conservative public policies in the areas of tax and fiscal policy, health care, and education – * providing solutions that will benefit all the people of Maine *

Item # 1

Rep. Sawin Millett (R-Waterford), who sat through marathon budget sessions on the Appropriations Committee stated; “People should call their legislators and tell them what they think,” Millett said. “Now is the time to speak out.”

Address: 37 Golden Guernsey Drive, Waterford, ME 04088
Home Telephone: (207) 583-4842
Business Telephone: (207) 583-4842
Fax: (207) 583-2520
Home E-Mail:
State House E-Mail:

Item # 2

Rep. Darlene Curley (R-Scarborough) states “The state is so broke that we are borrowing money to borrow money,” said Curley, a member of the Appropriations Committee,

Address: 18 Pinewood Circle, Scarborough, ME 04074
Home Telephone: (207) 883-6278
Home E-Mail:
State House Message Phone: (800) 423-2900

Item # 3

Senator Collins, Jan 4, 2005, introduced legislation to make more H-2B visas available, stating “These temporary worker visas are vital to helping hundreds of Maine’s small businesses operate at full capacity.” It is estimated that this provision could make an additional 10,000 visas available.

Washington, D.C. Office: (202) 224-2523
Augusta Office: (207) 622-8414
Bangor Office: (207) 945-0417
Biddeford Office: (207) 283-1101
Caribou Office: (207) 493-7873
Lewiston Office: (207) 784-6969
Portland Office: (207) 780-3575
Email: online form-
U.S. Mail: Washington, D.C. Office; 461 Dirksen Senate Office Building; Washington, D.C. 20510

Maine is home to immigrants (both legal and illegal), refugees, and seasonal workers. Per Juan Perez-Febles, Director of Immigrant and Migrant Services for the Maine Department of Labor, there are at least 15,000 LEP (Limited English Proficient) migrant workers and families residing seasonally in Maine.

Contact information for Juan Perez-Febles
Maine Department of Labor Division of Migrant and Immigrant Services
185 Lancaster St.
Portland, ME 04104-3574
Ph: 822-0152, 1-800-794-1110 (TTY), 822-0221 (Fax)

Maine Sanctuary State description:

Explanation of the United States Refugee Resettlement Program Reception and Placement, United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

  • Portland, Maine is a Refugee Resettlement Center funded primarily by the U.S. federal government. (Federal tax money)
  • According to the State Department, for the initial "Reception and Placement" period of 30 days, the Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) provides per capita amounts of $760.00 per refugee.
  • PRM contracts with ten agencies (VOLAGS) who in turn contract with local affiliates who directly provide the services.
  • For refugee resettlement in Maine, State Department funds go to United States Catholic Conferences who then contract with Catholic Charities Maine to provide the initial "Reception and Placement" direct services.

"Reception and Placement" core services include:

  • Meeting refugees at the airport
  • Providing safe and sanitary housing with essential furnishings
  • Providing adequate food or food vouchers
  • Providing essential and appropriate clothing (boots, winter coats, hats, mittens, etc.)
  • Registering children in school
  • Registering adults in English classes
  • Arranging medical and mental health services
  • Employment assistance
  • Orientation to health, human services, employment, housing, transportation, laws etc.

United States Department of Health & Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement Program

  • All persons admitted as refugees or granted asylum while in the U.S. are eligible for refugee benefits, for their initial 30-90 day period.
  • Certain other persons such as Amerasians or Haitian or Cuban nationals may also receive benefits.
  • Refugee resettlement programs can vary from state to state.
  • The domestic refugee program consists of (1) The State Administered Program (2) the Wilson Fish Program and (3) the Matching Grant program.
  • Maine has a state-administered program matching grant program which means Office of Refugee Resettlement matches $2,000 for every $1,000 provided by the VOLAG.
  • On the 31st day after arrival, the Office of Refugee Resettlement Program kicks in.
  • The Maine Department of Human Services administers the provision of transitional cash, medical assistance, and social services to refugees as well as maintaining legal responsibility for unaccompanied minors.

States must submit a "State Plan" explaining their program and assurances that the program will be administered in conformity with the Refugee Act (45 CFR section 400-900) and numerous other federal laws and regulations including Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Be aware that Catholic Charities provides the following services, paid for by your state tax money, to temporary workers, migrants, illegal aliens, and refugees. They are not operating primarily under donated funds.

For a complete accounting of the state of Maine taxpayers paid to Catholic Charities, read the IRS Form 990 ( for verification of the over 12 million in state taxpayer dollars (Actual IRS reported income, Form 990 dollar amount: $12,483,421.) given to them for these services. In addition, they were reimbursed almost 8 million more by Maine tax money (Actual IRS reported income, 990 amount $7,931,189.) for other public services including Medicare and Medicaid, which legal and illegal Maine migrants qualify for if they meet the low-income status.

Reference data on Maine Catholic Charities, go to

According to the Maine Plan, some of the services Catholic Charities Refugee and Immigration Services provides are as follows:

  • Refugee cash and medical assistance in the form of TANF or Refugee Cash Payments and Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance.
  • ESL Services should be concurrent with employment services whose goal is to provide all refugees with at least intermediate level English proficiency.
  • Culturally and linguistically compatible services mandated according to federal and state law.
  • Use of bilingual/bi-cultural women on staff.
  • Development and implementation of family self-sufficiency plan. This should include an employment analysis and evaluation of the refugee's experience, training, skills, and barriers to employment.
  • Development of individual employability plan identifying immediate and long-term employment goals for the family, and the support services and actions required to assist in the attainment of the goals.
  • Job Development Services to identify and develop employment opportunities commensurate with refugee's abilities, experience, and interest.
  • Job placement includes pre-employment orientation for both refugee and employer, matching refugees with jobs, accompanying refugees to job interviews, and following up on all placements by personal visits and phone calls.
  • Vocational Training courses.
  • Orientation to community services.
  • Assistance with the development of Mutual Assistance Association (MAA)/Refugee community groups
  • Nurse assessment as soon as possible after arrival.
  • Domestic medical screening.
  • Mental health services.
  • Refugee Advisory Council - Early in the Federal Refugee Resettlement Program, states were required to have refugee advisory councils. Although no longer required, Maine has continued to have a State Refugee Advisory Council. The council members represent social service and medical provider agencies, who serve refugees and other immigrants, state and local government, education, refugees and ethnic self-help organizations.
  • Providing services to unaccompanied refugee minors.

Many Maine farmworkers may qualify for benefits such as Medicaid. Available national statistics show that migrant and seasonal farmworkers are at greater health risk, and their health status is substandard compared to other American workers.

A recent Bureau of Health review of some health data regarding Maine's Latino population (Paul Kuehnert, RN, MS, and Ruby Spicer, MPH, RN, "Health Status and Needs Assessment of Latinos in Maine," Maine Bureau of Health, June 2002) poses some paradoxes. Clinic data from the Maine Migrant Health Program clearly indicate Latino seasonal and migrant farmworkers are at a socioeconomic and health disadvantage.

State of Maine taxpayer funded programs for seasonal migrant and undocumented aliens:

  • The Maine Migrant Health Program: Provides health services through a mobile health unit, nurse outreach services, and school-based services at the Rakers' Centers in the blueberry harvest camps,
  • Maine Migrant Education: Program's two Harvest Schools (one for blueberry rakers in Washington County and one for broccoli workers in Caribou), and the two
  • Head Start: Migrant Head Start sites (one in Harrington for blueberry rakers and one in Caribou for broccoli workers). Additionally,
  • Public Health Nurses from the Maine Department of Human Services' Bureau of Health: Maine's rural health centers and hospitals often provide services to migrant and seasonal farmworkers. Public Health Nurses from the Maine Department of Human Services' Bureau of Health provide direct nursing services, such as home visits to families with or expecting young children, and tuberculosis testing, and outreach.
  • Migrant Health Program Mobile Medical Unit
    • Outreach and Voucher Programs
      PO Box 405
      Caribou, ME 04736
    • Barbara Ginley, Director, Maine Migrant Health Program
      9 Green Street
      Augusta, Maine 04332-0405
      Phone: 207-622-9252

(Data from Maine Migrant Health Program, Augusta, ME) Maine Migrant Health Program Users 2000

Who are the Limited English Proficient (LEP) people in Maine?

    A refugee is a person who flees his or her country due to a well-founded fear of persecution because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a social group. Refugees are eligible to work in the U.S. upon arrival and may become a permanent resident after one year. Refugees are eligible for any federal assistance program.
    Asylees are refugees who are already present in the U.S. at the time they apply for refugee status. They are eligible for the same benefits as refugees, but only 10,000 may become lawful permanent residents each year.
    Parolees are persons who would not normally be admissible but are allowed to enter temporarily for humanitarian, medical, and legal reasons. Parolees are not eligible for federal benefits nor are they on a predetermined path to permanent resident status with the exception of Cubans and Haitians paroled into the US under Sec 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Naturalization Act. Some parolees qualify for work authorization.
    Also known as an undocumented immigrant, this is someone who enters or lives in the U.S. without official authorization. The Immigration and Naturalization Services estimates 300,000 undocumented persons enter and stay in the U.S. each year.
    Legal immigrants are granted admission to the U.S. on the basis of family relation or job skill.
    Migrant workers move to different geographical regions on a seasonal basis according to job availability. Maine's migrant and seasonal farm workers are primarily employed on a part-time basis in field work.

For information of what services are provided as well as the financial implications to Maine State taxpayers.

Question: Who is a qualified alien?

Undocumented immigrants and other non-qualified aliens are eligible under Medicaid for treatment of emergency medical conditions, provided that they otherwise meet the eligibility criteria for the state’s Medicaid program.

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity and Reconciliation Act of 1996, P.L. 104-193 (PRWORA) substantially restricted immigrants’ eligibility for means-tested benefits programs, including Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). In particular, with few exceptions, PRWORA restricts eligibility for such programs to “qualified aliens.”

In states that confer automatic eligibility to SSI recipients, non-qualified aliens who are receiving SSI also are eligible for Medicaid. Non-citizens be a qualified alien in order to be eligible for SSI, Food Stamps and Medicaid.

For general information on immigrant eligibility, states and other readers also may consult sections 3210 and 3211 of the State Medicaid Manual Note that, although the State Medicaid Manual and December 8, 1997 letter only discuss immigrant eligibility for Medicaid, the definition of “qualified alien” for purposes of Medicaid and SCHIP is the same.

Bangor Regional Office
396 Griffin Road
Bangor, Maine 04401
FAX: 561-4122 TDD: 561-4124

Maine Department of Health and Human Services
442 Civic Center Drive
11 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0011
Local: 1-207-624-7539 (Eligibility)
Toll-Free: 1-800-977-6740 (option 2)
Local TTY: 1-207-287-1828
Fax: 1-207-287-9229
Website: Maine Department of Health and Human Services website
View contact information of all states/territories

Alternative Aid Assistance Alternative Aid Assistance is a one time program to assist TANF eligible parents who need short term help to find or maintain employment. Voucher payments equal to up to three months worth of TANF benefits are available to families to help them avoid the need for TANF benefits.
  • ASPIRE/TANF is a program that helps TANF recipients find employment that will pay enough to make it possible for them to get off welfare.
  • ASPIRE/JET is a program that helps Food Stamp recipients find employment.
Child Support Child Support or DSER (Division of Support Enforcement And Recovery) is responsible for the development and implementation of the rules, regulations, policies and procedures necessary to assure that all non-custodial parents are contributing to the economic support of their children. Child Support
Emergency Assistance Emergency Assistance provides benefits to families with children in some situations when the family is threatened by destitution or homelessness due to an emergency situation. These situations include fire, other natural disasters, termination of utility service, evictions, or lack of adequate shelter. Only certain items can be purchased.
Food Stamps The Food Stamp Program provides food stamps that help low-income households buy the food they need for good health.
General Assistance General Assistance is a program administered through municipalities which purchases basic necessities for individuals who are without means to pay for such services.
Medical Assistance Medical Assistance, including the MaineCare, Cub Care and Medically Needy programs, provides payment to health care providers. Eligibility is determined by the Bureau of Family Independence. Bill payment and other activity are done by the Bureau of Medical Services.
Parents as Scholars Parents as Scholars is a program for parents involved in a two year or four year postsecondary program. It offers a monthly benefit based on guidelines for the TANF program.
TANF Temporary help for children and their parents while the family works toward becoming self-supporting.
Misc. Items

The Immigration and Nationality Act can be located on INS’ Website, at

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