When Fox News interviewed former Gov. Paul LePage about his wrong-minded criticism towards Maine’s asylum-seekers, he made assumptions about the needs of the state’s aging population. He was wrong to say that Mainers who “lived their lives in Maine are without services in their aging years or with their disabilities.” He assumed the reason is because of asylum-seekers. The fact is, the state’s population growth is pretty much flat. Population growth is having an impact on the number of caregivers who will provide care for all Mainers, including the aged and those with disabilities. Maine’s nursing shortage is another contributing factor challenging the access to care for our citizens.

In fact, the correct response to this looming problem is to support allowing asylum-seekers to work while they wait for their legal proceedings. Moreover, welcoming immigrants is the best way to provide for the population needed to sustain Maine’s workforce. Immigrants are needed to work in the tourism industries. It’s pitiful to see the former governor speak about asylum-seekers like they are somehow a problem, when welcoming them and other immigrants could help to overcome Maine’s caregiver and service-sector shortages.

Juliana L’Heureux

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