March 30, 2020
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Federal shift in resources could cause delays for asylum seekers in Maine

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Prince, 2, and his mother Sephora, 35, sit at a table in the Portland Expo in July 2019. They're both seeking asylum in the United States and face an uncertain future.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Trump administrative directive to shift federal resources from Boston and Newark, New Jersey, could increase delays for asylum seekers in the Northeast.

The temporary reassignments are part of an attempt to reduce a backlog at the southern border, but it will have an impact in the Northeast.

[City of Portland meets deadline to evacuate Expo building as asylum seekers find housing, shelters]

Phillip Mantis from the Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project tells the Portland Press Herald that the Boston and Newark offices already have a combined backlog of 40,000 cases. The reassigned staff from the northeast offices will be assisting with initial border interviews.

The newspaper said the move does not affect more than 400 asylum seekers from African countries who’ve come to Maine since June. Those individuals sought asylum at the border and their cases are already in the immigration system.


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