From separating children from their parents at the United States’ southern border, to making it increasingly difficult for those fleeing harm to seek asylum, to virtually halting refugee resettlement, to supporting legislative initiatives gutting immediate family immigration, to implementing new immigration regulations that would substantially reduce legal immigration by those not already well-educated and well-off, there is one architect leading the construction of the Trump Administration’s immigration policies: Stephen Miller.
The Washington Post reports that Maine is the bellwether of a growing national crisis: as our population ages, the need for elder caregivers and healthcare providers increases, at the same time that our demographics are creating a shrinking workforce.
As the article notes:
The disconnect between Maine’s aging population and its need for young workers to care for that population is expected to be mirrored in states throughout the country over the coming decade, demographic experts say. And that’s especially true in states with populations with fewer immigrants, who are disproportionately represented in many occupations serving the elderly, statistics show.
In Maine, and the nation, unemployment continues to be low (at 3.7% nationwide and 3.2% in Maine). Immigration is part of the solution. Refugees and those seeking or granted asylum, and immediate family immigrants who work in every sector of the economy, from manual labor to highly skilled professions, are essential to preventing the acceleration of our country’s and Maine’s demographic decline.
This is not the time to cut legal immigration as the administration aims to do. The recently published final rule on “public charge” will do just that, by drastically reducing immediate family immigration, and will exacerbate our elder care labor shortage, as this piece in Forbes notes.
Rather, it’s the time to remake our federal immigration laws to eliminate backlogs and processing delays in order to facilitate immigration, and for Maine to embrace its ability to attract asylum seekers to settle in the state who will revitalize our communities and workforce.
A Gallup poll conducted in July 2019 showed majority support for allowing Central Americans at the United States’ southern border into the U.S. to seek asylum.
Overall, 57% of respondents favored admitting the asylum seekers, up from 51% in December 2018. Republican support for admitting the asylum seekers increased by 10 percentage points, while Independent support grew by 6 points. Regardless of political affiliation, 75% of respondents felt that the situation on the border was a crisis or a major problem needing resolution.
You can see the poll results here.
Maine employers are starved for workers as low unemployment persists in the state.
Yet employers sometimes cut themselves off from immigrants in the workforce through errors made in job postings, during interviews, when communicating job offers, and, after hiring qualified candidates, during the I-9 employment verification process.
These mistakes may not only cost an employer a talented potential employee, but may also run afoul of federal nondiscrimination and employer sanctions laws.
MeBIC has created a two-page primer on hiring “do’s and don’ts”. This resource may help Maine’s employers tap into the broadest possible applicant pool, and avoid legal errors.