Maine governor and man who somehow got elected Paul LePage probably thinks he’s stickin’ it to the Big Federal Government with his latest stunt, but the truth is he just scored an own-goal.
LePage has announced that his state will no longer participate in the federal government’s refugee resettlement program.
Gov. Paul LePage notified President Obama on Friday that Maine will no longer administer the federal government’s refugee resettlement program, a decision wrapped up in the political debate over immigration.
LePage’s action is unlikely to stop the placement in Maine of refugees fleeing Syria or other war-torn nations, because the federal government – not states – is responsible for immigration policy.
As the Portland Press Herald points out, the federal government can resettle refugees in the state of Maine regardless of whether or not the state participates or cooperates with the federal government. LePage cannot block the federal government’s actions.
LePage says he has “lost confidence in the federal government’s ability to safely” run the refugee program, but by backing out of the program LePage is discarding any chance state authorities would otherwise have to vet or guide refugees.
If you are someone who actually buys the idea that refugees are dangerous and that only LePage can protect you, LePage has arguably made you less safe by dropping out of the program. The state government will now have less say (actually none) in the program than it did before.