Lewiston Council Urged Not to Cut General Assistance to Asylum Seekers

Jul 16, 2014

Fatuma Hussein of United Somali Women of Maine last night urged Lewiston's city council to keep providing general assistance to undocumented immigrants. Hussein testified the aid provides a crucial, temporary "lifeline" for asylum seekers who've recently come to the region from Angola, Burundi, Rwanda and Congo.

"Many of them have experienced genocide," Hussein said. "Many of them are women or children. Women who have been exposed to violence, including sexual violence."

Lewiston's council put off action until at least next month. Republican Gov. Paul LePage has threatened to cut state general assistance funding to any municipality that continues paying general assistance to undocumented immigrants. The Maine Municipal Association has filed suit over the directive.