Immigration to Maine
Maine is the 23rd state and entered statehood on March 15, 1820. The capital of Maine is Augusta. The state is known for its shellfish industry, such as lobster. In fact, in 1997 approximately 46 million pounds of lobster were harvested. Maine is the leading exporter of blueberries and raises nearly 98% of the low bush blueberries in the United States. Maine is considered to be among the top five safest states in the country.’
Immigration to Maine
Maine’s share of foreign-born migrants is less than three percent of its overall population. Europeans and Canadians account for the majority of the foreign-born migrants, with Asians being the second largest source. Although the growth of the foreign-born migrant population may only account for around eight percent of the annual average increase, the estimated immigrant births within the State of Maine adds approximately 650 people annually.
Maine’s naturalization rate of 55.2 percent is much higher than the national average of 40.1 percent based upon data recorded during the 2000 Census. A high rate of naturalization could easily suggest Maine has an established population with minimal illegal aliens. In the fall of 2002, Lewiston, ME experienced an overwhelming surge of 1000 Somali immigrants within an eighteen month period. Lewiston is a small community with few economic resources. This particular influx put great strains upon its social services that provide welfare, job training, and language classes. Around a quarter of the waiting list for public housing and a third of all the tenants at the public housing complex is made up of Somalis.
Maine is a small state, with a population of only 1,274,923 (as per the 2000 Census). Historically it has relied upon its natural resources as its primary basis of economic development, particularly farming, fishing and forest products. As its economy transforms from a reliance upon natural resources to technology innovation and globalization, workers and in some instances entire communities have been challenged to reinvent themselves in order to stay competitive. Bangor Daily News reported that Maine loggers recently faced the issue of Canadian workers displacing them and fought for their jobs by blockading entry points at the border between the Canadian and US border within the state. Job performance requirements and workplaces are changing, requiring deeper knowledge and more advanced skill sets, even for lower paid positions.
Illegal Immigration to Maine
As of 2007, FAIR estimates the state’s illegal alien population is about 5,000 persons which equates to about .3 percent of the overall population of the state. The annual fiscal cost to Maine taxpayers for emergency medial care, education, and incarceration projected by FAIR is currently around $5,000,000.
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