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PORTLAND, Maine (NECN)

Portland, Maine, is now housing more than 200 asylum seekers who are fleeing countries like Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

They've crossed into the U.S. through the southern border illegally, but they won't be deported because they're trying to escape persecution.

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Federal law prevents asylees from applying for work authorization for 180 days after their arrival.

They must also wait, what can be months at a time, for a court to decide that they can permanently live in the U.S.