All Maine Matters

February 2006



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Maine: a Sanctuary State for Illegal Aliens
By Rep. Richard M. Cebra

In travels around my legislative district, I'm often asked about Governor John Baldacci. Recently, a constituent said, "Tell me the worst thing the governor has done."

I thought for a moment. Was it Dirigo Health, which now threatens to tax working Mainers to pay for the governor's failing program? Was it running up $325 million in unpaid Medicaid bills that Maine owes to hospitals in the state? Was it LD1, the governor's "tax reform" bill that now could spark a full-blown revolt over property taxes?

No, the worst thing this governor has done, in my view, took place on April 9, 2004. On that day, he quietly signed an executive order that effectively made Maine a sanctuary for illegal aliens. He turned Maine into the first and only state to proclaim that people in the country illegally - even if they are fugitives, criminals or terrorists – are entitled to the full range of welfare, medical and other benefits intended for the lawful, taxpaying people of our state.

With the stroke of his pen, the governor ordered state employees to not inquire about a person's immigration "status." That means that illegal aliens can obtain Medicaid, subsidized housing, food stamps, welfare 0payments and in-state college tuition - something denied to legal Americans from other states. We're also one of the few remaining states that issue driver's licenses to people who are here illegally. Once they have a license, it is likely that they will, under the Motor Voter program, register to vote.

By now, everyone knows that the United States faces a staggering immigration crisis. According to a Time magazine special report, more than three million illegal aliens sneak into the country every year. Federal officials admit that the illegal population is at least 11 million now, but other estimates put the figure at 20 million or more. In 10 years, it could hit upwards of 50 million.

People are pouring in illegally from virtually every failed country on earth - from Asia, Africa, South America, the Middle East, Central America and, most of all, Mexico. I feel bad for people stuck in poverty in some Third World country, but the fact is that we cannot take in tens of millions of people, with no end in sight. It would bankrupt the country and, in time, reduce us to Third World living conditions.

Not all illegals come here to work, either. We're also drawing the criminal class from many nations. Already one third of inmates in federal prisons are illegals. There are tens of thousands more in state prisons from coast to coast - another huge cost resulting from the invasion. How long before the scourge of Third World crime hits us here in Maine?

When a state like Maine creates a haven for illegals, a place where they can enjoy protected status and numerous benefits, the word travels far and wide over the immigration grapevine. We know from the Census Bureau that at least several thousand illegal aliens are already in Maine. The governor's action will undoubtedly attract thousands more.

In times of dire financial difficulties, such as Maine now faces, you would think that a governor would make sure that our limited resources went to legal residents. But this governor seems prepared to shower them on anyone, whether they snuck across the border or flew in on a tourist visa and never left. It is impossible to know how much the governor's action is costing us in welfare, free medical care and other services,but it stands to reason that the amount is huge and growing.

Recognizing that issuing this executive order would provoke outrage and protest throughout the state, the governor signed it quietly, and made sure that the language sounded harmless. The title certainly sounds benign - an Order Concerning Access to State Services by All Entitled Maine Residents. The damaging details are buried inside. The press dutifully played down this bizarre development or ignored it altogether,to keep the public in the dark about the governor's scheme.

The section on legal authority for the executive order is especially interesting. It states: "Nothing in this executive order is intended to supercede any lawful requirements, state or federal, regarding the conduct of state employees." However, by giving protection to illegal aliens, the order plainly breaks federal immigration laws, USC 8, 1325, sections 274, 276, 277 and other statutes. It is a federal crime, for instance, to "aid, abet, assist, encourage or induce an illegal alien to remain in the United States."

This is an example of the loss of the rule of law. It further expands the Third World momentum that threatens to overwhelm the United States. Illegal immigration advocacy groups grow in power with each new victory. The taking of Maine is their biggest conquest yet. Not even California,
Arizona or other places overrun by massive waves of illegal immigration have taken the step of turning the entire state into a sanctuary zone.

My guess is that the governor has no clue what he's bringing upon the state. We'll assume he had good intentions. But Maine will probably be swamped by this silent invasion with possibly millions of illegals in the next 25 years, all demanding welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, free schooling for their kids, subsidized housing and, of course, freedom from arrest and deportation. Our language, culture, environment, crime rate and quality of life will be altered utterly. The governor doesn't understand how much damage his actions will create for our children.

My hope for our security, our economy and our children, is that we will elect a new governor - soon - who will rescind this ruinous executive order.

Representative Rich Cebra, a small business owner, represents the 101st House District, including Casco, Naples and part of Poland. Married 14 years with two children, Rich is active in local affairs on the Naples Budget Committee and Naples Main Street revitalization committee. He is a charter member of the Naples Lions club, a life member of the NRA, a member of SAM and the Citizens Alliance of Maine, and is an active supporter of the Right to Life movement. He is active in supporting TABOR and promoting the idea of smaller more efficient government whenever he can.

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