On this World Refugee Day, I’m heartened by our community’s recent response to almost 300 asylum seekers arriving in Portland. I’m also proud of cPort’s continued support of New Mainers through our community involvement efforts as well as through the products and services we’ve developed to serve our immigrant and refugee members.
Welcome Accounts & Loans
We offer deposit accounts and loans to asylum seekers who do not yet have their Social Security Numbers. With a passport and an Alien Registration Number, we can open a deposit account for an asylum seeker. We also offer loans to asylum seekers to help pay for legal fees associated with their asylum applications. We hope these accounts can help New Mainers work through the complicated asylum application process and settle into their new communities.
cPort also launched our Citizenship Loan product in 2017 to provide financial flexibility for New Mainers during the citizenship application process. Members can use Citizenship Loans to fund travel for themselves and family members who are becoming citizens.
How to Help
The Greater Portland community has rallied to support these families. Individuals can donate to the City of Portland’s Community Support Fund online or by texting EXPO to 91999. Immigrant Legal Advocacy Project (ILAP) is also working to support asylum seekers with application and legal assistance. They are holding an information session at the Expo on Friday and will need resources to continue to serve the growing number of asylum seekers in Maine.
cPort is donating $1,000 to ILAP for short term support in response to the recent influx of asylum seekers. We will also continue supporting organizations like the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center, Prosperity Maine, Catholic Charities of Maine, and Gateway Community Services that serve Maine’s immigrant communities. You can look for cPort volunteers at Southern Maine World Refugee Day on Saturday at Westbrook Middle School hosted by Catholic Charities.
We should not forget that most of us are descendants of immigrants. Our cultural diversity is one America’s greatest assets. I am grateful to be part of such a welcoming community that can rally together to create short and long term solutions for our neighbors.
President & CEO