Originally published by The Washington Post
There is an obvious solution to “A ‘catastrophic’ trend in Maine: A shortage of young workers” [front page, Aug. 15]: increasing the number of legal immigrants. This can take the form of a guest-worker program, along the lines of the “W Visa ” as proposed in the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013.
Beyond merely permitting guest workers into this country, this would entail creating a national clearinghouse to match jobs in areas of critical shortages with prospective migrants. The agency would be empowered to vet the applicants before entry and to monitor them afterward to prevent worker abuse. A robust guest-worker program should reduce the number of people trekking through an inhospitable desert and sneaking across the border. As originally envisioned in the act of 2013, eventually there would be a pathway to citizenship for some of these guest workers.
Additionally, undocumented immigrants who already reside in the United States should be allowed to apply as “internal” guest workers without fear of deportation. This would start to bring people out of the shadows and give them some legal status in the workforce.