Maine Withdraws from Federal Refugee Resettlement Program Four Days Before Election

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Maine is withdrawing from the federal refugee resettlement program just four days before Election Day, WMTW in Portland reports.

“I have lost confidence in the federal government’s ability to safely and responsibly run the refugee program and no longer want the State of Maine associated with that shortcoming,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a letter sent to President Obama and released by his office late Friday.

“The federal government has proven to be an unwilling partner with states in ensuring that refugee resettlement does not unduly put American lives at risk,” Le Page added in the letter.

“I sincerely hope that the federal government will re-evaluate its current refugee policy — both the quantity and nation of origin of refugees it resettles and the vetting process they are subjected to — in order to best protect the safety and interests of the American people,” LePage wrote.

“In his letter, the Republican governor wrote about Adnan Fazeli, a former Freeport man who, according to court documents, fled Iran in 2009, who died last year while fighting for the Islamic State in Lebanon,” according to WMTW.

As Breitbart News reported previously, Fazeli “initially came to Philadelphia in 2008 [as a refugee from Iran] and then moved to Portland, Maine [in 2009],” according to a Facebook post by Fazeli’s brother, Dr. Jabbar Fazeli, a physician who resides in Maine and has had a practice there for over a decade.

Maine is now the thirteenth state to formally withdraw from the federal refugee resettlement program. In those states, the federal government selects a voluntary agency (VOLAG) to operate the program on its behalf under the statutorily questionable Wilson Fish alternative program.

Three other states have withdrawn from the federal refugee resettlement program this year: Texas, New Jersey, and Kansas.

Nine states withdrew from the federal refugee resettlement program between 1990 and 2015: Kentucky, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nevada, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana, and Alaska.

In three other states, Vermont, Colorado, and Massachusetts, the federal government operates the refugee resettlement program under the Wilson Fish alternative program, even though those states have not withdrawn from the program.

The Tennessee General Assembly is suing the federal government for its operation of the federal refugee resettlement in the state of Tennessee on Tenth Amendment grounds, an argument that is only available to the thirteen states that have formally withdrawn from the federal program.

In those states, state taxpayers are required by the federal government to pay for the medical, housing, English as a Second Language, welfare, and translation expenses of refugees resettled within their jurisdiction without their consent. This amounts to an unfunded liability.

The Center for Immigration Studies estimated that in the state of Tennessee these expenses amount to $165 million annually.

In October, the Tennessee General Assembly “selected the Thomas More Law Center to represent the state in its lawsuit against the federal government over the resettlement of refugees in the Volunteer State.”

The Thomas More Law Center, which is representing the Tennessee General Assembly at no cost to the state, is expected to file the lawsuit in federal district court within the next few months.

Both Texas and Alabama have also sued the federal government to end the refugee resettlement program in their states, but only on the grounds that the federal government has failed to comply with the “consultation clause” of the Refugee Act of 1980, which requires the federal government and the director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to consult with local and state governments prior to resettling refugees within their jurisdictions.

Both lawsuits lost in federal district court and are now on appeal. The courts ruled, in part, that even a cursory communication of intent to place refugees in a state with that state’s government complies with the consultation clause.

That argument, however, is not available to the federal government in the case of local governments with which they have had no communications.

Such is the situation in Oakland County, Michigan, where County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said in September he intends to sue the federal government for its placement of thousands of refugees in the county over the past decade without providing any communication to him or other county officials.

Gov. LePage of Maine did not immediately respond to inquiries from Breitbart News as to whether he intends to have Maine join Tennessee’s Tenth Amendment lawsuit against the federal government to end the refugee resettlement program in his state as well.

It is unclear if LePage’s announcement four days before Tuesday’s presidential election will have an impact on the outcome of the contest between Republican nominee Donald Trump and Democrat nominee Hillary Clinton in the state.

Maine is one of only two states in which electoral college votes in the presidential election are not allocated on a winner take-all basis. Two of Maine’s electoral college votes are given to the statewide winner, while the two other electoral college votes are given to the winner in each of the state’s two Congressional Districts.

As of Saturday, Real Clear Politics classifies both the state of Maine and the Second Congressional district as tossups, and the First Congressional District as “Leans Clinton.”



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