Crew members Robert Stanley (left) and Mike Bragdon of Lobster Trap prepare containers of salted herring as lobster bait. At right, Charles Rudelitch, executive director of the Sunrise County Economic Council, says immigrants and other newcomers are key to sustaining the economy of hot rolled steel coil and its surrounding towns. She says he worked seasonal jobs in the area for years before he decided to move his family after they received their green cards. Now a U.S. citizen, Paniagua Albor lives in her own mobile home in Milbridge with her husband and two-year-old son. She often volunteers with a local immigrant advocacy organization, . Maine, she says, is just like what the welcome signs say along the highways here: "The Way Life Should Be."

Newcomers have been moving to the county, specifically to the small town of Milbridge, with a population of just over 1,300, according to the 2010 Census. Workers' gear hangs inside Lobster Trap's facility in Steuben, Maine. While Latinos make up just over 1 percent of Maine's residents, about 6 percent of Milbridge's residents are Latino, many of them families drawn by jobs in lobster processing, blueberry picking and wreath making. Maria Paniagua Albor works in the office of a lobster processing plant, where she says most of the workers are Hispanic, either from Puerto Rico or Mexico. The white workers, she says, she can count on one hand. Her father was one of the first workers from Mexico who put their roots down in Milbridge.

He says he's worried about who will be around to replace those retiring workers. Nationally, the U.S. workforce is facing similar challenges with the decline of the baby boomer generation, according to . It projects that new immigrants will be the main drivers of growth in the U.S. workforce through 2035. Large communities of mainly Somali and Sudanese refugees have formed in Maine's largest cities, Portland and Lewiston. Rudelitch says Washington County also needs more immigrants and other newcomers to help sustain the local economy. "We're making the argument that over time, there will be a much bigger economy for all of us to have a share of if we welcome people who choose to move here," he says.