Another wave of African asylum seekers is headed to Portland

November 21, 2019 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Another wave of African asylum seekers is headed to Maine’s biggest city, with the first of about 70 people expected to arrive on Friday.

The numbers will be smaller than in the summer, when more than 400 Africans arrived from the southern border. The city set up an emergency shelter at the Portland Expo, and organizations frantically worked to find homes for the newcomers.

“We don’t see this, as of now, as the crisis we dealt with in the summer,” City Manager Jon Jennings told the Portland Press Herald.

The city is preparing contingency plans. In the event shelters reach capacity, then the YMCA will let as many as 75 people sleep there.

The arrival of families fleeing Angola, Congo and other countries have shown that it’s not just Central Americans making the journey to the southern U.S. border.

Mufalo Chitam, executive director for the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition, helped coordinate volunteer efforts last summer and helped screen host families who provided temporary housing when migrants had to leave the Expo.

“We’re ready to support the families as they come,” Chitam said. “The weather will be a challenge. It won’t be summer. That’s the piece that will be different and a little concerning – going into winter.”