SANFORD, Maine — Roughly 20 to 30 asylum seekers have been brought back to the Portland Expo from Sanford, according to Sanford City Manager Steve Buck.
Since the end of April, an overwhelming stream of asylum seekers has been coming to the City of Sanford looking for housing and other general assistance.
The Portland Expo is where many of the asylum seekers have been staying and left because they heard better housing options would be available to them in Sanford, according to Buck.
During an emergency meeting on Tuesday night, Sanford city officials said they were able to house approximately 100 people before reaching capacity.
Those asylum seekers brought back to Portland on Wednesday got rides from people who have been driving them to Sanford, Buck told NEWS CENTER Maine. Buck would not name those people.
He said those brought back to Portland willingly left their housing options at the Expo and can't qualify for general assistance in Sanford.
“It is in the system you’re a Portland person now, and so, going to another community doesn’t do you any good because they will just send you back to that community. Because once you’re in the system in Portland, it’s not like Sanford can help you with general assistance anyway,” Portland spokesperson Jessica Grondin said.
Buck said he's working with the Department of Health and Human Services to set up additional services for asylum seekers in York County to make better accommodations for them.