The University of New England has joined more than 80 private businesses, chambers of commerce, colleges, and research institutions in signing a compact calling for federal immigration reform and local policies that welcome immigrants to Maine.
President James Herbert joined UNE Trustee David Barber and other leaders from the state’s business community in a press conference announcing the Maine Compact on Immigration.
Backers of the pledge are asking for common-sense policies that strengthen Maine’s economy and workforce, keep families together, and promote effective law enforcement.
A 10-year economic development plan released by the administration of Governor Janet Mills calls for adding 75,000 workers to the state and highlights immigrants’ contribution to that goal.
“It will be impossible to meet our development goals without immigrants, full stop,” President Herbert stated. “The demographics are such that we are not going to be able to survive and thrive without welcoming immigrants to Maine.”
According to Barber, a business development specialist at Tyson Foods and president of the Maine Business Immigrant Coalition, this is the first time in the state’s history that a broad spectrum of interests has joined together to publicly say that for strong communities and a strong economic future, Maine needs immigrants.