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The BDN’s Editorial Board article regarding asylum seekers arriving in Maine without federal coordination (“Better coordination needed to help new Mainers”) is spot on. While Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins ( S. 255), along with Rep. Chellie Pingree ( H.R. 1325) have tried to lessen the economic burden on Maine by introducing bills in Washington that would allow asylum seekers to work upon filing an asylum application, the Biden administration has done little to champion this important issue on Capitol Hill.
Allowing asylum seekers to work more quickly will allow them to earn income, pay taxes and contribute to the Maine economy, as well as move from the limited state housing. The state of Maine, Maine’s congressional delegation and Maine’s nonprofit partners have done an admirable job in trying to help asylum seekers with little coordination and assistance from the federal government. It is time for the Biden administration to step up and push this commonsense legislation that would allow asylum seekers to seek the employment they need to move on from state housing assistance and fill the open positions so prevalent in the Maine economy.
Matthew J. Maiona
Adjunct professor of business immigration law