‘Asylum Seekers’ draining public assistance funds in Maine

Headlines you won’t see reported outside of Maine: More asylum seekers getting financial help in Portland.

You have to read past the Portland Press Herald headline to understand how impactful these asylum seekers are on the needs of the city’s other residents seeking help:

Portland is providing emergency financial assistance to an unprecedented number of immigrants who have come to seek asylum, and the group now accounts for 63 percent of the city’s general assistance budget, according to data released by the city Monday.

More asylum seekers and visa holders who are expected to apply for asylum have received general assistance from the city in the first five months of the current fiscal year than in the entire previous fiscal year. The number receiving aid increased from 1,716 in all of fiscal 2014 to 1,899 in the first five months of fiscal 2015, which began July 1.

“Those are the highest numbers we’ve had,” said Robert Duranleau, the city’s social services director.

Meanwhile, the portion of the city’s general assistance funds used to help all other people pay for rent, food and other necessities has fallen sharply to 37 percent in the current fiscal year from 64 percent in 2014. The city gave aid to 2,594 people who were not asylum seekers or visa holders in fiscal year 2014, and to 927 in the first five months of fiscal 2015.

And we are talking about Maine. Not Texas. Not Florida. Maine!

To his credit, re-elected Maine Gov. Paul LePage is working to put a stop to this insanity: LePage has “sought to prohibit asylum seekers and other undocumented immigrants from receiving general assistance – a move that is being challenged in state court by Portland, Westbrook and the Maine Municipal Association, a nonprofit representing towns and cities.”

Of course it’s being challenged. Portland and Westbrook are liberal territory. Micro-brew pubs, chic shops and tourist destinations along the waterfront, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods. Need I say more?

And, of course, none of this is the asylum seekers’ or Mainers’ fault:

Sue Roche, the executive director for the nonprofit Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project, maintains that the figures do not represent an overall increase in the number of immigrants coming to Portland.

Instead, the figures represent a logjam in the asylum application process that has prolonged the wait for work permits and resident status, as well as a tight labor market that is difficult to break into, especially if someone doesn’t speak English well, she said.

“When you see those numbers spike, it’s not necessarily new people who come, it’s the people who were in the process before and still in the process. And you have new people coming in as well,” said Roche, whose group helps asylum seekers navigate the legal process.

The “asylum application process” has produced a backlog and similar problems in New Jersey — all during the Obama Regime rule:

The number of new asylum applications filed in the Northeast region nearly doubled – rising from 2,928 to 5,633 – between fiscal years 2010 and 2013. And the regional office in New Jersey received more than 3,500 applications during the first six months of fiscal year 2014, well above the 2013 pace.

Just in case you think the Portland Press Herald is reporting the news, it is actually working overtime to push the Obama agenda. Last July, the paper’s editorial board tried to convince its readership that the “asylum seekers” need more of Maine’s resources, not less.

Maybe the Herald‘s editorial board should talk with its neighbors in Lewiston. The City of Lewiston, by the way, reports on a regular basis of not only the financial costs but also the social costs of having “asylum seekers” thrust upon its citizenry. Just do an online search. Plenty to find about asylees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo living there.

And there is a large number of Somalis living in Lewiston. They began arriving in 2001.

Lewiston has experienced an uptick in “asylum seeker” residents in the past year. MPBN, Maine’s NPR News Service, reported last July:

Sue Charron, director of social services for the city of Lewiston, is handling the wave on the front lines. She says last year only 29 refugees applied for General Assistance. But requests from asylum seekers are up dramatically.

“With the beginning of this fiscal year, which was July 1st of 2013 through June 30th of 2014, there were 70 new asylum seeker cases that applied for General Assistance,” Charron said. “And the prior year was 16 and the prior year before that was 13.”

Charron says of the 70 applicants for General Assistance, Charron says all 70 got help. But going forward, granting it will be more difficult. The state’s new definition for unlawful immigrants includes people who have expired visas and who don’t have required paperwork. Over the last three weeks, since the new DHHS directive was issued, Charron says she’s identified 30 such people. The state has warned that cities and towns that do not follow the directive will jeopardize state reimbursement funding for GA.

Why, then, do these “asylum seekers” so love Maine — and are willing to relocate from states where they were originally settled? Could it be that “Maine is one of the few states that help asylum seekers, by making them eligible for General Assistance.”

Enough said.

Make way for the race hustlers — the ‘Michael Brown Law’

Appeasement has been the way in America since Obama’s Day One in the Oval Office. The examples are legion, both foreign and domestic, and there is no need to recount them.

As former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel famously said, let no “crisis go to waste.”

Taking the lead this time around it is the race hustlers who are on task. The Grand Jury’s decision to not indict Ferguson, Missouri, Police Officer Darren Wilson for the crime of defending himself against the obvious (to those who pay attention to reality) raging attack by teenage “person of color” Michael Brown has given them their latest opportunity.

How do we know that this is all about widening the racial divide? Let’s look at the latest evidence, as reported by CNS News dot com:

Michael Brown’s family will “pursue all the legal avenues,” including legislation named after their son, attorney Benjamin Crump told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

Crump said the proposed “Michael Brown law” would require all police officers to wear video cameras that record every move they make:

“The family will pursue all the legal avenues, potential civil wrongful death lawsuit, as well as look at pushing forward with proposed legislation for (a) Michael Brown law — working with the National Bar Association, NAACP, National Action Network, and others to have it where it is required that every police officer in every American city is required to have video body cameras, so it will be transparent; we won’t see this play out over and over again, whether it’s in New York or Louisiana or Texas.”

The list of those calling for a “Michael Brown Law” are the race hustlers themselves — all “persons of color”.

. Michael Brown’s family.

. Michael Brown’s attorney, race hustling shakedown artist, Benjamin Crump who likewise represented the Trayvon Martin family in its hour of need.

. How about the National Bar Association?

The National Bar Association was founded in 1925 and is the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African-American attorneys and judges. It represents the interests of approximately 60,000 lawyers, judges, law professors and law students. The NBA is organized around 23 substantive law sections, 9 divisions, 12 regions and 80 affiliate chapters throughout the United States and around the world.

When hearing this news, how many people will be able to differentiate it from the American Bar Association, which includes members from all races?

. The NAACP should require no explanation. It’s the National Association  for the Advancement of Colored People.

. The National Action Network? Well, that’s the race-hustler-with-a-pulpit Rev. Al’s operation.

It should be noted that “others” who are backing this proposed “law” did not call for it AFTER the Grand Jury’s decision.

The truth is that the clamoring started long before any of the facts in the case were presented for deliberation to any legal body.

On August 13, 2014, a petition site provided by the White House supported a call for a Michael Brown Law. This was a mere four days after the August 9th shooting in Ferguson.

The petition was launched by the anonymous “J.C.” of Hephzibah, Georgia, which is located about ten miles from Augusta. It is a low-income town of about 4,000 that is approximately 40% other than white (excluding the Hispanic category).

We have to ask: Who is “J.C.”? Well, on a hunch, a quick google search finds that the Crump family connects to Hephzibah and the Augusta area. Just saying.

Also, about the number of people who signed that petition: On August 27, 2014, the petition — then with 148,000 signatures — passed the threshhold of 100,000 signatures within the required 30 days. (And the White House responded.)

The total number of signatures stands at 154,747, with the last updates on September 12th. There is no indication that the window to sign on has closed. So why no more signatures?

Now we get around to the appeasement part of this sorry tale. This is all about appeasing the “persons of color” community. Reality fails to show up.

Let’s be clear here. A miniaturized wearable video camera will record all the moves that a perpetrator makes. The camera is aimed away from, not towards the officer. Likewise, a video camera operated from a vehicle’s dashboard videotapes activity in front of a police vehicle. It is not directed at the police officer behind the wheel. A video camera is literally an “eye witness” to what the officer sees, or perhaps things he or she cannot see.

Perhaps the Michael Brown Law petitioners are unaware that the video camera automatically uploads what it is “seeing” and that it becomes evidence. Evidence is collected by it to be used to prosecute crimes. No taking it back. The same would go for a digital audio device — which might have been helpful in the Brown case had it survived the attack.

It is worth noting that had Officer Wilson been wearing a camera attached to his collar or elsewhere on his person it would have had little to no impact. If a thug like Michael Brown was willing to beat the officer violently about the head and grab for his gun, a video camera would have done nothing to stop him.

In fact, it most likely would have been another casualty in Brown’s assault.

Also, Brown and his partner-in-crime accomplice, and lying sidekick, Dorian Johnson, were perfectly willing to commit crimes while being video taped at the convenience store. Cameras were not a deterrent.

Flashback: Who was right in 2007? Ezekiel ‘Doctor Death’ Emanuel or Jonathan Gruber?

Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother to former Obama Chief of Staff and adviser and Chicago’s current mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was labeled “Doctor Death” based on his connections with the Obama administration and so-called “death panels” hidden in the Obamacare law.

In August 2009, Salon came to Emanuel’s defense, claiming

Ezekiel Emanuel, who’s currently advising the administration on healthcare reform through a post at the White House Office of Management and Budget, is actually one of the country’s leading medical ethicists, a forceful defender of people approaching the end of their life. Indeed, he opposes even voluntary euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide.

The irony in this comes from the more recent claim last month by Emanuel himself that he hoped to die at 75.

This paints an interesting background for the fact that, in July 2007, MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, also identified as a health care adviser for Obama and his repugnant health care law, duked it out in a debate with Ezekiel Emanuel.

The occasion was a conference call. John Edwards was reportedly in search of a health care campaign adviser and the two “experts” vied for the position.

The Washington Post reported:

On one side was Ezekiel Emanuel, a doctor and bioethics expert and the brother of Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), arguing that the American health-care system is so riddled with inefficiencies that it needs to be blown up and replaced by a plan in which people can buy coverage themselves with a voucher.

On the other side was an economist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has become possibly the party’s most influential health-care expert and a voice of realism in its internal debates. . . .

[Gruber said] that whatever the merits of Emanuel’s idea, it just would not be politically viable. Instead, Gruber argued for a more incremental approach, like the one in Massachusetts he helped write. Its central elements would be providing subsidies to people who are unable to pay for health care, increasing the number of those who are enrolled in public programs such as Medicaid and creating a public agency to help anyone ineligible for the programs buy health insurance. . . . .

“Plans which minimize the disruption to the existing system are more likely to succeed than plans that rip up the existing system and start over,” said Gruber, who has consulted with the three leading Democratic campaigns about their health plans. “It doesn’t take a genius to see that. That’s not to say that plans ripping it up wouldn’t be better — I just think they’re political non- starters.”

Edwards chose Gruber and he, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama all drew from Gruber’s plan, especially his insistence on the mandate.

Given the outcome of Obamacare, perhaps Emanuel had the better idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SCHIP: Gruber helped peddle ‘socialized medicine on the installment plan’

In September 2007, David Hogberg, of the National Center for Public Policy Research, stated that the expansion of SCHIP amounted to “socialized medicine on the installment plan”.

Hogberg wrote:

The State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) was created by Congress and President Bill Clinton as part of Balanced Budget Act of 1997. SCHIP was intended to give $24 billion in federal matching funds over ten years to state governments for the provision of health insurance to about 5 million uninsured children. Eligibility was supposed to be restricted to children whose parents earned too much to qualify for Medicaid, but less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Like most government programs, SCHIP soon exceeded its intent. By 2006, about 6.9 million children received insurance benefits through SCHIP. From 1997-2006, the federal government provided over $40 billion in matching funds. Many of the children now on SCHIP were not previously uninsured, but had private coverage which their parents dropped, a phenomenon known as “crowd out.” Furthermore, seven states have set eligibility standards above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and four of those have set it at 300 percent or above. They were able to do this because the original SCHIP statute never set a specific poverty level for eligibility. Rather, it stated that the program was supposed to be for “targeted low-income children,” which the Department of Health and Human Services initially interpreted as 200 percent of the poverty level.4

Now a majority in Congress wants to codify into law this violation of SCHIP intent. Both the House and Senate have passed bills that would enable families earning up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level to qualify for SCHIP benefits. This would have two major effects. First, it will dramatically worsen the problem of “crowd out.” Second, it would make a program that is unfair into one that is regressive.

Hogberg concluded:

But fairness has never been the primary concern of the political left on health care. The primary concern has been achieving a universal, government-run system. Providing near universal coverage for children, and funding it via cigarette taxes, is a big step toward achieving that goal. “Children” are an effective propaganda tool. Anyone who opposes providing coverage for children can be attacked as heartless and cruel. Cigarette taxes are one of the few types of taxes that the public will not oppose. Indeed, anyone who opposes cigarette taxes can be attacked as being “pro tobacco.” The thinking of the political left seems to be that if government covers enough children of enough people high up the income ladder, then eventually enough of the public will be supportive of extending such government insurance to everyone. Call it “socialized medicine on the installment plan.”

Given how poorly universal, government-run health care systems work in many other nations, such a system is not the route the United States should travel. Thus, we should not allow SCHIP to be used as a stepping stone toward such a system. SCHIP should be returned to its original purpose of covering only children in families making no more than 200 percent of the poverty level.

And Gruber’s role in this? The Joyce Foundation- and George Soros-funded Center on Budget and Policy Priorities stated in June 2007: (emphasis added)

A related issue involves what is known as “crowd out.” Those who push to convert SCHIP into a program that subsidizes individuals to purchase coverage in the private insurance market, with few standards or protections, argue that SCHIP is substituting for employer-based coverage. They cite a recent Congressional Budget Office study which estimated that 25 percent to 50 percent of children covered through SCHIP would otherwise have some form of private coverage, and say this demonstrates the need to overhaul SCHIP as they propose.

This criticism, as well, poses a false choice, as it overlooks the fact that under the fragmented U.S. health insurance system, virtually any effort to use government funds to help cover the uninsured will result in some substitution of one type of health-care coverage for another. This is a basic point CBO made when issuing its study. The real choice for Congress is what types of coverage expansions are more efficient and effective than others. And on this front, SCHIP scores well. Analysis by Jonathan Gruber of M.I.T. — a leading health economist who has conducted a good part of the work on SCHIP crowd-out on which the CBO analysis rests.

Looks like the apparently mindless CBO rests a lot of its conclusions on Gruber’s work.

Sen. Reid cites Gruber: Bush lost credibility on health care in 2006

Warning: Bush Derangement Syndrome ahead.

In February 2006, Sen. “Dirty Harry” Reid cited MIT economist Jonathan Gruber in his attack on President George W. Bush’s Health Savings Accounts plan:

As President Bush travels to Ohio today to promote his misguided Health Savings Accounts, a new study released by MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber shows that HSAs will increase the number of uninsured by 600,000 Americans. Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid released the following statement on the president’s loss of credibility on health care:

“It’s simply not credible for the president to say he’s serious about addressing the health care crisis when you look at his record and his policies. After designing a prescription drug plan that favors HMOs and drug companies over seniors and then botching its implementation, the president is now threatening seniors’ access to care with his budget cuts to Medicare. Democrats have offered a prescription for change to fix the Medicare drug bill; the president has ignored the problem.

“The president’s most recent recycled health care idea will make the health care crisis worse. His plans for Health Savings Accounts will increase the number of uninsured Americans, make health care more expensive for millions of Americans and do nothing to help the over 46 million Americans who don’t have health care coverage today. It’s just not credible to call it a solution. Democrats know that together, America can do better to cut health care costs and increase access to quality health care for all Americans.”

If I didn’t know better, I’d have to come to the conclusion Gruber was talking about Obamacare.

You can read Gruber’s full report at the Joyce Foundation and George Soros-funded (among others) leftwing Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

FireDogLake.com pegged the Obama-Gruber deception in 2009

This is one of those times that everyone should have paid better attention to words of wisdom coming from the “Left”. Thinking only inside one’s political box is a very bad idea.

In March 2010, Jane Hamsher of FireDogLake.com fame posted “How the White House Used Gruber’s Work to Create Appearance of Broad Consensus” on none other than the Huffington Post, in which she timelined the Obama-Gruber lying lies re Obamacare.

Hamsher wrote about the Obama administration’s manufactured “feedback loop”:

Up until this point, most of the attention regarding the failure to disclose the connection between Jonathan Gruber and the White House has fallen on Gruber himself. Far more troubling, however, is the lack of disclosure on the part of the White House, the Senate, the DNC and other Democratic leaders who distributed Gruber’s work and cited it as independent validation of their proposals, orchestrating the appearance of broad consensus when in fact it was all part of the same effort.

The White House is placing a giant collective bet on Gruber’s “assumptions” to justify key portions of the Senate bill such as the “Cadillac tax,” which they allowed people to believe was independent verification. Now that we know that Gruber’s work was not that of an independent analyst but rather work performed as a contractor to the White House and paid for by taxpayers, and economists like Larry Mishel are raising serious questions about its validity, it should be made publicly available so others can judge its merits.

Gruber began negotiating a sole-source contract with the Department of Health and Human Services in February of 2009, for which he was ultimately paid $392,600. The contract called for Gruber to use his statistical model for evaluating alternatives “derived from the President’s health reform proposal.” It was not a research grant, but rather a consulting contract to advise the White House Office of Health Reform, headed by Obama’s health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle, to “develop proposals” for health care reform.

Read the rest of Hamsher’s fine analysis here.

The Washington Times noted that FireDogLake.com was among liberals who were “appalled” by the Obama administration’s deception:

It wasn’t the Tea Partiers and conservative radio hosts who had the harshest things to say about Obamacare. Left-wing bloggers offered some of the sharpest attacks – and some of them made lots of sense.

From the beginning of the debate [in 2009], Jane Hamsher of the influential blog Firedoglake insisted that no reform without a public option would be acceptable. Her fetish for a public option was misguided, but some of her reasoning was solid.

The day after the bill passed, for instance, Ms. Hamsher wrote: “This bill fundamentally shifts the relationships of governance in order to achieve its objectives. .. We have empowered another quasi-governmental, ‘too big to fail’ industry with alarming nonchalance.” . . .

The claims made by the administration about the virtues of the health care bill are outright fabrications. As Marcy Wheeler has documented in her post entitled ‘Health Care and the Road to Neofeudalism,’ it does not control either insurance premiums or health care costs. Forcing 31 million people to buy a product they don’t want and can’t afford to use does not constitute health care reform.

She’s right, of course. The individual mandate that forces every American to purchase health insurance is an assault on liberty and clearly unconstitutional. It must be repealed [the Times wrote].

From liberals’ lips to Congress’s ears.

ICYMI: Obama’s Truth Team (aka Jonathan Gruber) celebrated 6th Anniversary of ‘Romneycare’

CNN reported on the Obama campaign’s April 12, 2012, “salute” to Romneycare’s 6th Anniversary:

“I helped Gov. Romney develop his health care reform or Romneycare, before going down to Washington to help President Obama develop his national version of that law,” says Jonathan Gruber a bright eyed MIT Health Consultant featured prominently in the video. The spot includes old footage of Romney thanking Gruber for his work on the Massachusetts health bill.

Gruber’s verdict: “The core of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare and what we did in Massachusetts are identical.”

On April 13, 2012, the Boston Globe reported:

The Obama campaign also released a video Thursday that chides Romney for inconsistent statements about health care reform, even as it praises his work on the state law.

The release of the three-minute video was timed to mark the six-year anniversary of Romney signing Massachusetts’ health care law.

The video features two men – Jonathan Gruber, an MIT economist, and John McDonough, director of Harvard University’s Center for Public Health Leadership – who helped craft both Romney’s law and Obama’s law. Both vouch for similarities between the two and affirm Romney’s belief in 2006 that the Massachusetts version could serve as a national model.

“The core of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and what we did in Massachusetts are identical,” Gruber says in the video. “It was to President Obama’s credit that he said, ‘You know what, the policy might have been introduced on the right, but look, here’s something that really worked.'”

Just in case you missed viewing this video, here’s what the Obama “Truth Team” asked you to do:

“Join the Truth Team: https://my.barackobama.com/romneycarevid. April 12th is the anniversary of Romneycare.”