Home How the Border Crisis Caused a Crisis 2,500 Miles Away in Maine
Home How the Border Crisis Caused a Crisis 2,500 Miles Away in Maine

How the Border Crisis Caused a Crisis 2,500 Miles Away in Maine

When Americans think about border security, they usually imagine the floods of migrants crossing the border and showing up in Texas and Arizona. The illegal migrant crisis is at its worst in places like El Paso where gang members released by a broken immigration system swarm the streets. Limited border fencing had previously helped sharply cut crime rates in El Paso, but it doesn’t end in El Paso.

2,500 miles away, Portland, Maine is experiencing a crisis that redefines the nature of the problem and whom it impacts. Illegal border invaders aren’t just from this continent. Anyone who can fly into South America and make their way up to Mexico has a shot at crossing the border and invading America.

Portland shelters, 2,500 miles away, are overloaded by illegal migrants from sub-Saharan Africa who crossed the border and then kept right on going to one of the coldest, but most profitable parts of the country. Portland, like many areas in Maine, attracted migrants because of the generous social safety net that had been set up to help the local population deal with turbulent economic times.

Hundreds of African migrants who illegally crossed the border are now crowding Portland’s homeless shelters which are meant to protect local residents from the cold, but have instead been overrun by foreign migrants who have taken over the system and pushed the progressive city to the edge.

Portland, Maine, a city where the temperature this April had hit a balmy 28 degrees, is not a natural homeless hotspot. But refugee resettlement had diverted resources away from helping Maine’s poor, putting more people on the street, and the migrants began crowding into homeless shelters. Not only were Maine’s poor having trouble finding housing, but they were even being pushed out of homeless shelters by aggressive foreign migrants coming out of Africa through Mexico and Texas to Maine.

And so Maine, an unlikely place to host a homeless crisis, is in the throes of one anyway.

Portland, a city of 67,000, hit a new homeless record in October with 500 people in its shelters. That’s 0.74% of the population. The flood of illegal migrants has hopelessly overloaded shelter resources leading to people sleeping on the floor in offices and gyms. When all the shelters were full, hotel rooms had to be rented at a much higher cost to taxpayers, while poisoning the well for future tourism. Now an entire building has been leased just to find space for the endless tide of economic migrants.

There are an estimated 3,000 asylum seekers in Maine. Most of them are occupying Portland.

In early December alone, 199 foreigners wanted to get into the shelter system in Portland. 126 of them had come through the southern border, either by illegally invading it or by falsely claiming to be “refugees”.

While the media emphasizes hard luck stories by homeless Americans, the ugly secret is that the huge increase in Portland is not caused by local economics, but by legal and illegal migrants.

A 2013 survey found that 50% of the individuals in the shelter system were refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers or other foreigners. Of the 509 residents, 128 were Iraqis, 89 were Somalis, 47 were Sudanese. And then there were the Afghans and Eritreans. That’s Portland’s “homeless” problem.

Since then, the migrants have comprehensively displaced Maine homeless place from the system.

In 2018, 86% of the people in the shelter system were immigrants. By the end of the year, the number had climbed to a horrifying 90% with Maine families almost crowded out entirely.

Portland’s Democrat leaders have refused to maintain eligibility criteria for general assistance and spending has shot up to $10 million. The second biggest expense for GA is shelter beds.

1/3rd of Portland’s general assistance caseload consists of immigrants, many of them refugees.

Instead of prioritizing Mainers, the Democrat government has doubled down on putting migrants first. Mayor Ethan Strimling is urging $10 million in spending on affordable housing. A 2015 effort to go on using GA for migrants was backed 5-4 by the Portland City Council after testimony from Fatuma Hussein, the head of United Somali Women of Maine, even though state education money was being diverted.

The aid to Somali and other migrants was also paid for by a 3.1% property tax increase. Rising property taxes have contributed to a shortage of affordable housing in Portland, putting Mainers on the street and in the homeless shelters, if they can get in, past the foreign migrants who made them homeless.

Maine’s 16.5% increase and Portland’s staggering 70% rise in homelessness defies the overall economic recovery. The Oxford Street Shelter used to have beds. Then it switched to cots and finally to mats on the floor. The two blocks between Oxford and the Preble Street Center, another homeless magnet, are part of a diverse area populated by “recent immigrants”. The Islamic Society of Portland is less than ten blocks away and many of the migrants filling up Portland are Somali Muslims. MAIN, the Maine Immigrant Access Network, a vector for the social problems plaguing Maine, sits on Oxford.

MAIN is mostly oriented toward Somalis. Its team is entirely Muslim and almost entirely Somali. It’s typical of the vast social services infrastructure that has been set up to care for the migrant population. The social services sector employs a growing number of migrants who get profitable government jobs caring for migrants. And there’s every possible incentive for them to continue increasing their numbers.

Even if it means that native Mainers are left out in the cold. Sometimes literally.

There are more mosques in Portland than any other city in Maine. That includes the controversial Afghan Mosque. Deqa Dhalac, a Somali immigrant, defeated a local to represent District 5 in the City Council. Like so many employed members of her community, Dhalac was working as a social worker.

When the City Council appointed a Maine firefighter to the Civil Service Commission instead of her, she filed a complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and the City Council was forced to undergo diversity training. That’s how Democrats hope to create a permanent Dem majority in Maine.

Mayor Strimling has even suggested allowing non-citizen foreigners to vote.

The catastrophic disaster in Portland, Maine has robbed the native population of needed social services while diverting them to foreign migrants. While President Trump has moved to reduce the number of refugees bleeding communities like Portland of their resources and their future, there is a new threat.

Three or four African families are now arriving in Portland’s shelter system every week after crossing the border. Many more, according to Portland’s social services director, are waiting in Texas in detention centers, eager to come to Portland. “We can’t sustain what is happening,” he was quoted as saying.

“We’re at a crisis situation now in the city of Portland,” City Manager Jon Jennings declared.

“Our issue isn’t that too many people are coming here – it’s we don’t have the housing to put them in,” Mayor Strimling bafflingly insisted.

Portland’s only plan for managing the problem is to pass the buck to the Maine and United States governments. Multiply all the “Portlands”, lefty cities that go deep into debt to attract illegal aliens in order to expand the political power of the Democrats, and it easily surpasses the $5 billion wall.

The crisis in Portland shows once again why building a wall to keep out a horde of migrants is a smart, sensible and cost-effective solution. Even the biggest proponents of open borders can’t actually pay the tab for illegal migration, even when they’re 2,500 miles away from the border in a cold state.

If they can’t do it, how can anyone else?

Open borders are unsustainable in Texas, California, New Mexico and Arizona, and even in Maine. Building a wall will not only protect the states that share a border with Mexico, it will even protect a state that shares a border with Canada.

And all of America.

Daniel Greenfield is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. This article previously appeared at the Center's Front Page Magazine at the above link.

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Thank you for reading.


  1. Every half decent place in the third world has a wall topped with broken glass surrounding it. The idea is it keeps criminals out. Conversely we include walls as part of our prison security, the idea is to keep criminals in. Who can credibly argue that wall don't work? The Pope lives behind walls, is that offensive to Rome?

  2. Anonymous13/1/19

    I didn’t know about this situation, all of the way up in Maine. I’m iffy on a wall, mostly b/c it’s bound to be screwed up by process / technocrats (like bullet trains), and if it’s physically beaten or blamed for some sob story of harm / death, there won’t be any appetite for plan b. One thing that would help a lot would be to simply work toward scaling welfare (all welfare) way down. Trump did seem to want to do that during his inauguration speech. DJR

    1. If he can't get the dems to fund what they have approved how the check do you think they can be convinced to scale back welfare

  3. An invasion by lazy welfare seeking muslims, how could that possibly go wrong?

  4. Tsk, Tsk Really a shame. what low down shame. I really feel sorry for those poor homeless in Maine. Maybe they should try NYC. I hear they have plenty of homeless shelters. Portland city fathers and mothers should spring for a bus ticket for the homeless and send them to the big apple. they could house even more illegal immigrants in their homeless shelter then cause sending them across state lines is aiding and abetting in breaking federal law and the politicians would go to jail. can't have that.
    Maine. the state where a 26 bedroom mansion is called a cottage. imagine that.

    1. Sure Balsio has free health care for all I'm sure he has extras laying around.

  5. Portland Maine MAY have a problem but within its incorporated area is the solution. VOTE THOSE PEOPLE OUT OF OFFICE! Do they think the situation is going to improve without an effort made by the citizenry?
    It sounds as though they are wailing "poor us, somebody help us".

  6. And don't forget Lewiston, Maine, which has a swelling, hostile Somali population at often physical odds with the locals. But, overall, the pro Muslim-illegal immigrant population in the whole state is calculated to create a permanent Democratic voting bloc. The Dems aren't fooling anyone, but they're very good at scamming Americans.

  7. The good news is, there won't be a tourism problem because there won't be tourism anymore.

  8. Anonymous14/1/19

    "...it will even protect a state that shares a border with Canada."

    Are you getting them crossing over from Canada? We're getting them crossing over from the U.S.A. Apparently they fly into your country on tourist visas and then "lose" their documents just before walking across the border into ours, just as you report them travelling to Mexico to enter the U.S.A. illegally. And while Portlan, Maine, has a mayor who thinks it's a good thing, we have the head of government for our whole nation, Prime Minster Justin Castreau, who thinks it's a good thing. He has our Mounties meet them at the border, tell them they are breaking the law, and then help them carry their luggage to the reception area where they can sign up for welfare and assistance with their fake claims for asylum. President Trump's wall won't just save your, country, it's our best chance of saving ours.

  9. The system is broken. Government actively works against citizens. It is time for the citizens to take matters into their own hands, the rule of law argument is a farce. Citizens - defend your own borders.

  10. 65 countries now have walls against illegals, drugs, weapon smuggling. Some countries have two walls - Saudi, Spain, Greece, India. Some are electrified - Russia, Botswana. Self protection is ok.

  11. Agammamon16/1/19

    How about dismantling the welfare state that is attracting these immigrants?

    Why is the only option ever presented is either open-borders and an ever-expanding welfare state or a wall and an ever-expanding welfare state.

    The root cause of the immigration crisis *is the welfare state*. Until that's gone all that will happen is we'll build a wall, then we'll put guns on it. Then we'll build more walls inside the US, then we'll put guns on them.

    Mandatory ID, internal passports, warrantless searches, the whole nine yards.

  12. Anonymous18/1/19

    What's up, I read your blogs regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep doing what you're doing!

  13. You were ahead of the curve... As usual. Maine city, overwhelmed by asylum seekers, debates immigrant assistance programs https://www.theblaze.com/news/maine-city-overwhelmed-by-asylum-seekers-debates-immigrant-assistance-programs


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