Jul 27, 2021
Event seeks expansion of Midwest’s workforce through immigration reform

On Wednesday, July 28, at 10 a.m. CT / 11 EST, farmers, Dreamers and business owners from across the Midwest will join the American Business Immigration Coalition for a virtual event called Expanding the Midwest’s Workforce Through Commonsense Immigration Reform.

They will call attention to the devastating economic impact of the labor shortage facing midwestern farmers and companies, exacerbated by the pandemic. Whether through bipartisanship or reconciliation, speakers will urge their Senators to pass the Crapo-Bennet Senate companion bill to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, DREAM Act, and SECURE Act.

Register here.

Speakers include:

● Alfonso Vidal, CEO, Vidal Plastics, LLC (Evansville, IN)

● Sofia, Undocumented DREAMer, TheDream.US Scholar (Indiana) ● Tom Demaline, President & CEO, Willoway Nurseries (Avon, OH)

●  Jane Fernandes, Former Guilford College President, incoming president for an Ohio member university of the President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration

● Kim Lovelace-Hainsfurther, President, Forrest Keeling Nursery (Elsberry, MO)

● Tom Hughes, President & CEO, Hughes Nursery & Landscaping (Cedar Rapids, IA)

● Kristine Hillmer, President & CEO, Wisconsin Restaurant Association

● Derek Ahl, Partner, Northern Family Farms (Merrillan, WI)

● Cesar Gajales, Public Affairs Director, The Libre Initiative

● Andy Johnston, Vice President of Government Affairs, Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

● Chris Alpers, Vice Chair, US Apple; Owner, Redpath Orchards, (Leelanau County, MI)

● Brad Williams, Vice President of Government Relations, Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce

● Steve Obert, Executive Director, Indiana Dairy Producers

● Craig Regelbrugge, Senior Vice President, AmericanHort (Columbus, OH)

● James O’Neill, Director of Outreach, ABIC

Background: The Crapo-Bennet Senate companion bill to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act would stabilize the current and future agricultural workforce by modernizing H-2A visas and providing undocumented farmworkers and their immediate family members legal immigration status and a path to citizenship.

The DREAM Act and the SECURE Act would bring immediate solutions to families living in limbo and businesses struggling to find workers across industries by providing a path to legalization for immigrants brought to the United States as children and recipients of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), respectively.

Co-sponsors: AmericanHort, Hughes Nursery and Landscaping, The Libre Initiative, US Apple, Northern Family Farms, Wisconsin Restaurant Association, President’s Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration and Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

The American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC) promotes common sense immigration reform that advances economic competitiveness, provides companies with both the high-skilled and low-skilled talent they need, and allows the integration of immigrants into our economy as consumers, workers, entrepreneurs, and citizen


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