The mother of all migrant magnets has been under construction in Augusta for two decades, if not longer. Engineered and fine-tuned by Maine’s woke ruling class, it’s designed to attract tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to settle here, all in the name of developing our economy and “strengthening our workforce” (newspeak for driving down wages with a large pool of cheap labor). More importantly for progressives, the accelerated influx will help remedy Maine’s deplorable demographic profile as one of the whitest states in the country.
The latest model of the migrant magnet was rolled out last week under the banner of LD 2167, “An Act to Develop Maine’s Economy and Strengthen Its Workforce by Establishing an Office of New Americans.” The Governor’s bill was referred to the State and Local Government Committee, which promptly scheduled a public hearing for Tuesday, January 30th at 1 pm in Room 214 of the Cross State Office Building.
If legislators give the nod to Gov. Janet Mills’ proposal for a migrant resettlement agency in the executive branch of state government, we can expect to see an exponential increase in the number of unvetted foreign nationals who settle in Maine after crashing the USA’s wide-open southern border with Mexico. They’re now coming to Maine at the rate of about 3,000 per year, so many that Portland – Maine’s premiere sanctuary city since 2003 – stopped counting them last year.
Mills wants to increase that number massively over the next five years by creating what amounts to an express lane from Eagle Pass, Texas, into housing subsidized by Maine taxpayers. The cheap-labor lobby and its cheerleaders in Maine’s lying, dying Fake News industry will no doubt applaud the move. Also aboard the bandwagon for the expanded re-settlement of unemployed migrants to Maine are the cultural Marxists on both sides of the aisle in the Legislature, the cadres of diversity fascists camped out in the groves of academe, and Maine’s sprawling Nanny State Non-Profit Industrial Complex.
Even without a new magnet to draw them northward, why wouldn’t thousands more border-crashers head north to Maine after wading across the Rio Grande? It appears they all have cell phones, and no doubt saw the news reports about the brand-new luxury apartments in Brunswick that were set aside exclusively for illegal immigrants who identify as “asylum seekers.” Maine taxpayers will graciously pick up the tab for their rent for the next two years. What’s not to like about that sweet deal?
It beats being a native Mainer stuck on a waitlist.
Two years ago, the Portland Press Herald reported that “housing is so scarce in Greater Portland that there’s a two-year wait for an apartment in a Portland Housing Authority property, and a five- to seven-year wait on a statewide list of 25,000 people seeking federal Section 8 housing vouchers.”
For those looking to buy, the number of houses on the market in Maine is stunningly low. It raises the obvious question — one the Democratic supporters of the resettlement agency haven’t answered: Where are all these New Mainers supposed to live?
Maine’s useless politicians in Washington – who haven’t lifted a finger to secure the wide-open southern border – know how bad the optics are when it comes to freebies for migrants who entered the country illegally and were then escorted to the head of the line for subsidized housing. So here’s how our public servants handle that PR nightmare.
U.S. Sens Susan Collins and Angus King, joining a bipartisan cadre of state lawmakers, favor expedited work permits that would allow the “asylum seekers” to skip the mandatory six-month waiting period and get a job within days after stepping off the bus in Portland. As Collins put it, that would allow them to “become self-sufficient and contribute to the local community while their asylum claims are being adjudicated.”
Are you kidding me? What percentage of the mostly low-skilled newcomers who don’t speak English will become gainfully employed and self-sufficient? Does anyone seriously believe that even after a lifetime of employment their tax contributions will ever make a dent in the cost of the publicly-funded housing, healthcare, and educational benefits they will consume between now and retirement?
Free rent for two years in one of the luxury apartments in Brunswick will cost Maine taxpayers close to $50,000 per unit if you assume the rent is $2,000 monthly. How many years will the newcomers have to work and pay Maine state income taxes before they pay off that freebie?
In any case, at least 90 percent of the approximately 10,000 “asylum seekers” who have settled in Maine since Janet Mills took office have already been here for more than six months, making them eligible for the coveted work permits. How many of them have gone to work? We don’t know because nobody is keeping track. Whatever the number is, it can’t be very many, or the cheap-labor lobbyists at the Chamber would stop whining about the supposed workforce shortage.
Expedited work permits are just another magnet to attract economic migrants and incentivize them to file unwarranted asylum claims that will ultimately be rejected, by which time they will have blended into the population with no fear of deportation. No serious person expects any of them to self-deport when they get the bad news about their asylum applications sometime in the next decade.
That’s exactly why the six-month waiting period was originally enacted under the Clinton administration: to discourage bogus asylum claims by economic migrants.
Bear in mind that neither the pending legislation nor Mills’ executive order make any distinction between legal and illegal immigrants, despite the fact that we know with some certainty that upwards of 80 percent of asylum claims are bogus. Once those claims are denied, the illegal immigrants who filed them become immediately deportable. Collins and King know this, and so does Mills, but they don’t care. The prospect of cheap labor and, eventually, tens of thousands of grateful new voters are all that matter to them.
As for the alleged shortage of workers, count me among the skeptics. Maine’s workforce participation rate is abysmally low. Fewer than six out of ten Mainers who could be working are actually working – evidence that our reputation as a welfare state where the safety net has turned into a hammock is well deserved. Anecdotally, there’s plenty of evidence that the workforce is already here to fill jobs that pay more than entry-level wages.
Exhibit A: the Old Town paper mill in Penobscot County re-started in 2019 after a four-year shutdown. The new owners advertised to fill 130 positions, and more than 1,000 people applied for those jobs. Doesn’t sound like a workforce shortage to me.
You don’t need a master’s degree in economics to understand that dramatically increasing the pool of labor puts downward pressure on wages. The law of supply and demand dictates that adding tens of thousands of immigrants to our labor pool will drive wages down for Mainers.
That economic reality explains why the state Chamber of Commerce and most of the regional chambers are all singing the praise of Mills’ migrant magnet. Her press release last summer announcing the proposed “Office of New Americans” was chock full of praise from leaders of the local, regional, and state Chambers, as well as the scores of immigrant nonprofits with their snouts in the trough through which state revenue will flow when the ONA bureaucracy is up and running.
While Mills and her legions of sycophants tout the economic objective of “strengthening the workforce” as the centerpiece of their campaign to enact LD 2167, methinks they doth protest too much. I suspect there’s a much deeper Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI) component driving cultural Marxists to celebrate the Mills administration shoving mostly white “old Mainers” aside to make way for mostly non-white “new Mainers.”
In closing, take note that the thousands of “new Americans” who have already arrived in Maine apparently didn’t get the memo about America being a systemically racist nation ruled by white supremacists. But don’t worry. Once their kids are enrolled in Maine’s government-run K-12 indoctrination centers, they will all learn just how rotten and racist we are.