PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Gov. Paul LePage wants to limit state welfare benefits to only those residents living in Maine legally, a move that could force municipalities to drop some recipients or risk losing government funds.
But opponents say the Republican would be pitting have-nots against other have-nots in the state and feeding into a fear of immigrants. Meanwhile, some politicians complain that LePage can't change welfare laws without legislative approval and that he's grandstanding during an election year.
"He's putting people who are having difficult economic times against one another and trying to make them feel like they need to battle it out," said Zach Heiden, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine.