Bravo to Charles Lawton for highlighting again how Maine’s future economic health depends on attracting more people to our state through immigration (“Maine must welcome immigrants,” March 15).

While I generally agree with Lawton, Maine cannot solve this issue alone. What we really need are more imaginative federal policies to help states where population growth is stagnant, median ages are high, school-aged populations are declining and in-migration is critical (e.g., Maine, Mississippi and Montana). Those states will soon have significant unused infrastructure such as school buildings and an aging workforce that leads inevitably to economic stagnation.

At the same time, some high-growth states (e.g., Texas and North Dakota) are having their resources taxed by the rapidity of growth – driven in part by immigration.

By connecting federal policies (e.g., requiring a certain percentage of immigrants to live in slow/no-growth states and rewarding those same states with extra federal aid), we could allow those states to afford the periodic brief lag time between an immigrant’s arrival and that individual’s economic productivity and strengthen our nation at the same time.

Federal aid could also make possible significant investment in workforce education and training for states encouraging immigration.

Maine has a storied immigration history: 150 years ago, thousands of French Canadians brought their language, their culture, their skills and tremendous work ethic to Maine and fueled an economic and cultural transformation of our state.

Who among us can imagine Maine today without the gifts of our Quebecois and Acadian heritage? What we need for tomorrow is a similar transformation.

Jim Mitchell