The state of Maine, in an article I’ve just read, has ‘an international reputation as a welfare magnet’, a claim that might surprise the European countries which have taken in hundreds of thousands of people. There were no fewer than – do sit down if you find you need air and smelling salts – 400 unauthorised migrants who came to Maine last month. I don’t have comparable figures for January, but I do have them for December, from the EU’s Frontex agency. Here they are, in a table reporting unauthorised crossings into the EU and the UK. They seem to be a little larger than Maine’s figures, despite its ‘international reputation’.
The article on Maine conveys the author’s sense of disapproval at the existence of the people it calls ‘illegals’. (My own view on that term is here.) The writer tells us:
The 400 foreign nationals who crashed the southern border and headed for Maine last month include 63 families with an average of 2 children each, most of whom will soon be enrolled in local public schools if they aren’t already. In addition, another 151 of the border-crashers who arrived in January are individuals without spouses or children.
So one of the principal items of concern seems to be that people are travelling with children who will need schooling. Even more daring, there is talk of providing free basic health care to people who have very low resources:
this radical proposal … would make Maine the first state to offer Medicaid benefits to all adult residents who are in the country illegally.
The Federal rules, under Obamacare , are restrictive by European standards – it is difficult for migrants even to get access to the ‘marketplace’ for health insurance – but Minnesota explicitly exempts refugees from the 5-year waiting period that otherwise applies to non-citizens.
The proposal to extend basic health care, or ‘MaineCare’, is described here. Maine already makes that provision for children, and California and New York have extended provision for older people. The opponents of the proposal to extend basic health care have tabled legislation ‘to protect Maine taxpayers’. Perhaps they might like to consider the advantages of becoming a ‘magnet’ for the citizens of the future.