City Prepares for Arrival of Immigrants from Texas Border in “Unprecedented” Numbers


City Manager Jon Jennings (L) with Mayor Ethan Strimling Today,.

“This is not about the budget, it’s more about people,” said city manager Jon Jennings at a press conference that ended about 2:30 this afternoon at city hall.  “In fact, this is an emergency situation,” he said.  Jennings said there have been immigrants relocated from Texas in the past, but the number this time is “unprecedented.”

Beginning this morning, city staff including firefighters and Andy Downs began arriving at the Portland Expo to plan preparing for the arrival of 150 from San Antonio, TX.    Some of them will be dropped off in cities in California and Buffalo, New York along the trip north. They left the area on buses paid by for Catholic Charities on Monday and Tuesday.  They are from the Congo, Angola and many of these families are traveling in large groups because the families are large.

They will sleep in beds, not mats and all meals will be provided for them   Preble Street will provide food 24/7.  Jennings also confirmed that contrary to some rumors the health of these people is fine.  No one has the Ebola virus. He said he was impressed with the level of volunteerism that people have demonstrated in this emergency.  The Mayor of South Portland has reached out as well.

Governor Mills has said she will provide assistance from the state.  In fact, the Governor will attend a meeting on Friday, at 3:00 pm at  the Merrill Auditorium, Rehersal Auditorium, Portland along with Maine’s congressional delegation to brainstorm on this emergency.  The meeting is open to the public. has issued numerous requests for copies of the emails between the city manager and city council on this emergency.  Ms. Grondin has not responded.  Today at the press conference, she told  “I have better things to do than to respond to you.”  Ouch!