This week’s episode of Parsing Immigration Policy features Steve Robinson, editor-in-chief of the Maine Wire, a digital investigative news outlet, who joins our guest host, Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies. The two experts discuss how Chinese criminal organizations have established illegal weed grows using trafficked labor of illegal aliens, and the effect on Maine communities.

Robinson has been investigating this problem for months, since the existence of hundreds of rural Maine properties was revealed in a leaked federal law enforcement memo. Robinson reveals what he has learned about the Chinese drug crime operations in Maine — how they have taken advantage of Maine’s rural sanctuary environment and how they skirt all manner of laws, ordinances, taxes, and regulations, and even steal electricity, to make a profit.

While state lawmakers failed in this year’s session to pass a “Little RICO” law or other measures to nip this activity, at least one small town has implemented a tough ordinance that could put some of the illegal operations out of business.

But Robinson points out why state and federal authorities must also act: “The marijuana is a means to an end, and the end is funding a criminal organization,” and one that potentially represents a significant threat to our national security. As Robinson and Vaughan discuss, not only could these operations diminish opportunities and destroy the quality of life for some Mainers, they also are linked to large-scale money laundering for the Mexican cartels and to the Chinese government.


Jessica Vaughan is the Director of Policy Studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.


Steve Robinson is the Editor-in-chief of the Maine Wire.


Triad Weed: A Maine Wire Investigative Series

Steve Robinson’s Twitter Account

Steve Robinson’s Author Page at the Maine Wire

Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a “Conehead” on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in “Planet of the Apes”.

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Published in: General