Welcoming people to our country who are seeking a better life and the protection of the rule of law, away from the tyranny they faced at home, is part of America’s founding.

Governor Mills has acknowledged that Maine Emergency Management and Centers for Disease Control resources are not adequate. She is urging the federal government to consider Portland’s situation when distributing emergency funds. Which is why it is important to move forward with asylum applications so that those who have come here can seek employment.

If addressing Maine’s worker shortage is the Governor’s top goal, why is she promoting a year delay in their asylum applications? Volunteers and state officials should encourage and assist with applications for asylum without delay, in order to ensure applications for employment can be made as soon as possible.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, you cannot apply for permission to work (employment authorization) in the United States at the same time you apply for asylum. You may apply for employment authorization if:

“150 days have passed since you filed your complete asylum application, excluding any delays caused by you (such as a request to reschedule your interview) AND

No decision has been made on your application”


Governor Mills and Democrats have been sharply criticized for prioritizing newcomers over long-time Maine residents, nursing homes, transportation infrastructure and our most vulnerable citizens on waiting lists. They should work to ensure that new arrivals become eligible to seek employment as quickly as possible, which is their stated desire. That is not the message that Governor Mills is sending.

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