The federal immigration system is broken.  Because of this, policy makers in Maine should not use immigration status as criteria to deny people basic rights.  Instead, policy makers should actively and explicitly work to guarantee equitable outcomes for all Maine communities by eliminating disparities based on race and immigration status.


•Human rights are human rights.  Everyone deserves equal protection under the law, health care, education, a good job, and the ability to elect their government.  Everyone means everyone.

•Maine’s economy could not survive without the hard work of our newest neighbors.  Without immigrants, blueberries and apples would not be picked; cows would not be milked; inns would not have staff.  

•Even if every young person born in Maine stayed in Maine, we still would not have a labor force young enough to fill the jobs and pay the taxes necessary to support our aging population.  We need to attract a younger, more diverse population in Maine to have a strong economy.


Racial profiling.  The Maine Bias Based Profiling Advisory Committee convened in 2009 to investigate racial profiling in Maine’s communities of color. Although none of the necessary resources were appropriated to analyze the data necessary to quantitatively demonstrate racial profiling, the committee reported to the legislature that “if any segment of the public, for whatever reason, believes that bias-based profiling occurs, public safety is endangered.” For this reason, every part of Maine law enforcement—from the unions representing police officers to the chiefs of police and the Commissioner of Public Safety—have committed to addressing the concerns that Maine’s communities of color have regarding law enforcement.  Most significantly, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy has adopted clear guidelines against bias based profiling that all law enforcement officers will now receive.  Some local police departments have begun voluntary analysis of their stop and arrest data to begin to see if any patterns of profiling have emerged.  

Turning state workers into immigration enforcement agents.  Governor LePage’s first act in office was to encourage state workers to enforce immigration law.  In addition to unfairly harming those dealing with our broken immigration system, this undermines the missions of all state workers—especially those in law enforcement—whose job depends on building trust in immigrant communities.  

Denial of safety net benefits.  Over 500 immigrants were unfairly denied their safety net benefits.  MPA supports the ACLU of Maine and Maine Equal justice partners in their April 2012 lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services for violating the equal protection clause of the constitution.

Disparities in Education, Health, and Income.  See the Maine Racial Justice Policy Guide for the latest research on racial disparities in these areas.  Policy makers should use resources, such as the Applied Research Center’s Racial Equity Impact Assessment tool kit to evaluate and create policies that foster more equitable outcomes for Mainers of color.

Denial of voting rights.  At America’s founding, citizenship was not required to vote in most states.  It shouldn’t be today in local elections.  A referendum allowing legal residents of Portland to vote in municipal elections garnered 48% of the vote in 2010, and a similar bill was introduced in the 124th legislature.

Sources and Links to more information

•Maine Racial Justice Policy Guide:

•Maine Bias Based Advisory Committee:

•LePage Executive Order:

•National Immigration Forum:

•National Report (including stories from Maine) on Racial Profiling: