To the Editor:
Maine’s prosperity depends on welcoming new families.
Below are my remarks from a Nov. 12 press conference on immigration reform to mark the Supreme Court hearing on DACA and immigration legislation that is now stalled in the US Senate.
As in many other parts of the state, businesses in my district face increasingly acute challenges to find employees. These challenges are frequently exacerbated by the uncertainties within federal programs for work authorization.
Further, through my current legislative work on the Maine Growth Council on a new ten-year state strategic plan for economic development, I know that the demographically-driven declining workforce right now is the most significant barrier to Maine’s future prosperity.
To meet the state’s economic needs over the next ten years and to fill available positions, we must add at least 10,000 people to Maine’s workforce.
Yet, over this same period, Maine’s aging demographics are projected to retire some 65,000 current workers from the workforce.
This means that Maine’s prosperity fundamentally depends on bringing 75,000 people the state through immigration, both domestic and international.
So I urge our federal legislative delegation to work expeditiously to assure that our state can welcome and retain these urgently needed hard-working new citizens.
For Maine’s future to realize the economic vitality and quality of life necessary for our own children to stay here and prosper, it is essential that our country come together to fix the current uncertain patchwork of broken immigration policies.