Maine State Immigration Laws
Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of immigration laws in Maine. Below you will find information on laws in the state about immigration checks by law enforcement. You'll also find information about immigration checks that educational institutions do on students. At the same time, this article covers checks run by employers on their workers. Also covered are any requirements the state places on using the E-Verify system. We also address restrictions on public benefits related to a person's immigration status.
- Law enforcement and immigration in Maine
- Employment and immigration
- Maine E-Verify requirements
- Driver's license/ID requirements
- Public benefits restrictions
- Education checks
- Voting ID rules
- Housing ordinances and immigration
- Related resources
- Contact an immigration attorney
A federal program once required law enforcement officials to fingerprint arrestees and run their names through a database. The database checked arrestees' immigration statuses. This program was "Secure Communities."
In 2021, President Joe Biden revoked the Executive Order by which former President Trump had renewed Secure Communities. The "Criminal Apprehension Program" replaced Secure Communities. Under that program, only convicts' names are run through the database that checks immigration status.
Information collected during these checks is shared with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Information could ultimately be shared with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). But this is only usually the case if a particularly flagrant detection of immigration violations occurs. This typically only occurs when a migrant poses a threat to national security.
For more information, refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules. Refer also to the requirements for Form I-9.
Under Maine law, employers are not required to use E-Verify for checking employees' status. E-Verify is a government system employers can use to determine the immigration status of job applicants and workers.
To get a driver's license, driver's license applicants must show proof of U.S. citizenship. They could also show proof of Maine residency. Examples of documents accepted for proving Maine residency are utility bills or rental agreements.
Under federal law, illegal immigrants are barred from receiving most public benefits. But they are allowed to use emergency services. They are also allowed to get health care and other programs that are "necessary to protect life and safety."
Students in the U.S. without documentation do not qualify for in-state tuition. Some public universities will allow qualifying DACA recipients to pay in-state tuition.
DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. It protects eligible young adults from deportation after their parents brought them to the United States as children. It also gives these young adults work authorization for limited periods. Those periods of work authorization are renewable.
Some public universities may extend in-state tuition benefits to U visa holders. Under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), abuse victims are given an easier way toward legal presence in the United States — U visas. Included within those eligible for such visas are victims of human trafficking and domestic violence. Family members of victims are also eligible for U visas. The members of immigrant families can get such visas, as well. Asylum seekers can also benefit from U visas if they prove they've been the victim of abuse in their country of origin.
There are no voter identification requirements.
Maine laws do not address whether landlords must check the immigration statuses of applicants or tenants.
- Know Your Rights — Guide to protecting yourself and your family during immigration raids
- Maine Immigrant Rights Coalition — A nonprofit organization that provides advocacy and immigration services to low-income migrants
- Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) — Another nonprofit organization that offers legal services to migrants for little or no cost
If you're struggling through any immigration-related process, contacting an attorney is important. They can assist you with any immigration-related problem. Many immigrant rights groups in the state can help, as well. Noncitizens are advised to seek the help of immigration attorneys. If you are facing any immigration-related problem, an attorney can always help. As vulnerable as immigrant communities tend to be, they must secure competent legal help. Contact the Maine State Bar Association for more information.
If you're struggling to find an attorney, it can provide referrals for attorneys for free. Whether you're in Portland or elsewhere in the state, it's important to find an attorney. It's also important to get help from outreach groups.
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Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you get the best results possible.