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Lawmakers Ax Bill To Take State Aid Away From Immigrants

A proposal that would have cut basic aid to immigrants to fund job training programs for those on welfare has been killed by the Maine Legislature.

State Sen. Brownie Carson, a Democrat from Brunswick, says the bill would hurt those most in need of help.

“This bill, unfortunately, takes away life-sustaining assistance to our most vulnerable noncitizens. The first barrier to work is not being able to meet our basic needs,” he says.

The proposal would have made noncitizens ineligible for benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, food stamps and other welfare programs. The millions of dollars saved would have been used to fund job training programs and English language and citizenship classes.

“This bill would establish that Maine is not the place to come for welfare benefits, but that if you come here to work and to contribute and look for those kind of opportunities, we are more than happy to help you towards those ends,” says Republican state Sen. Eric Brakey of Auburn.