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Lewiston Mayor speaks out against benefits for illegal immigrants

LEWISTON (WGME) -- City officials in Portland, South Portland and Bangor say they plan to continue offering welfare benefits to illegal immigrants even without the state's support.  Lewiston City Council had a meeting on the issue Tuesday night, but did not make any decision if they would continue to offer illegal immigrants benefits or not. 

On Monday the Department of Health and Human Services notified cities and towns that they will no longer reimburse them for general assistance to immigrants living in the country illegally. The state commissioner says the move will save about $1 million annually.

Lewiston's Mayor Robert Macdonald says the bill is something Lewiston simply won't be able to pay, and he feels taxpayers shouldn't have to.

"We just laid off people, we just cut services in Lewiston, and now you're expecting us to pick up this enormous amount of money," said Mayor Macdonald. "These people here are just a drain on our limited funds and we cannot afford to do this."

The City Council hopes to have more information from lawyers, the Attorney General's Office and the Governor's Office to come up with a decision at their next scheduled meeting July 15th.