The economic interests of Maine citizens would be favorably served by immigration policies that restrict additional labor from putting downward pressure on wages. Because labor markets respond to fundamental principles of supply and demand, allowing businesses continued access to inflows of low-cost immigrant labor reduces wages and opportunities for all Maine citizens.

If businesses cannot attract the workers they need, they should raise wages, improve working conditions or automate. Instead, business owners find it easier and profitable to lobby politicians for more immigration. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce, politicians and immigrants capture any economic benefit of this arrangement. Maine citizens pay the price through flat wages and displacement.

In a proper market economy, labor shortages are addressed through wage and price signals: Shortages lead to higher wages and the labor market responds by moving to the higher-wage jobs. Inflows of immigrant labor suppress the wage signal to the benefit of the business owner and to the detriment of workers. This problem is exacerbated by advances of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence, which effectively displace low- and middle-skill workers.

It is imprudent to continue to import additional labor when entire categories of jobs are being eliminated by technology.

Charles Day

treasurer, Mainers for Responsible Immigration