BOSTON - Maine Governor Paul LePage blasted the White House on Tuesday for placing in his state eight children who tried to cross the border illegally.
The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama has been struggling to find shelter for the wave of unaccompanied child immigrants from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras that have been arriving at the Mexican border, which is expected to reach 90,000 people by September.
“It is wrong for the federal government to force a higher burden on the people of Maine to pay for those who come to our country illegally,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “We cannot become a state that encourages illegal immigration. We simply cannot afford it.”
LePage, known for his combative tone and strained relations with state Democrats, said he had not been informed of the plan to house the children ahead of time. He joins a wave of Republican governors pushing back against the Democratic president on immigration. On Monday, Texas Governor Rick Perry said he would send 1,000 National Guard troops to the border to boost security.
Some Democratic governors, notably Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, have offered to host children at facilities in their states.