Several diverse Maine groups are uniting over an immigration issue that potentially could force the deportation of individuals who entered the United States as minors illegally, or have remained here under the protection of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA.
The program was rescinded by the Trump administration and the issue is expected to be addressed by Congress later this month. Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, said Maine's aging workforce is one of the reasons why DACA children need to remain.
"That's why on behalf of the business community, I join with the rest of the family in urging Maine's congressional delegation to act quickly to work together to ensure that not one young adult with DACA will lose the ability to stay and reach his or her potential in this state...or any state." Connors said at a press event Wednesday at the Bangor Library.
Joe Baldacci, Bangor's former mayor, said Congress needs to find a way to allow the young immigrants to remain here.
"This cuts across all ideological, economic, cultural and social lines and that we are unified as a community and hopefully as a state and as a nation to pass this important legislation," Baldacci said. "It does affect 800,000 people directly but it will affect millions beyond that in terms of the effects on our economy."
The DACA press event was sponsored by the FWD.US coalition of public officials, religious leaders, labor groups and human rights advocates.