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[RECORDING] Indiana Dreamer Joins Ag, Biz, Civic Leaders to Urge Senators Young and Braun To Support Bipartisan Immigration Solutions at Virtual Summit

By June 16, 2021No Comments

[RECORDING] Indiana Dreamer Joins Ag, Biz, Civic Leaders to Urge Senators Young and Braun To Support Bipartisan Immigration Solutions at Virtual Summit

Link to the recording here: 

INDIANAPOLIS, IN — Indiana business leaders from the dairy, agricultural, restaurant and manufacturing industry, as well as an Indiana Dreamer, held a virtual forum titled Expanding Indiana’s Workforce Through Bipartisan Immigration Solutions: From Farms to Tables to Factory Floors to urge Indiana Republican Sens. Mike Braun and Todd Young to support bipartisan immigration solutions that expand our workforce, bring certainty to families and employers, and help our economy roar back from the pandemic. These solutions include the Durbin-Graham Dream Act, the Bennett-Crapo Senate companion bill to the House’s Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the SECURE Act. 

See recording highlights below. For a complete link to the recording click here.

With a record number of unfilled jobs, Indiana’s workforce shortage is threatening the state’s economic prosperity and stunting local pandemic economic recovery efforts. In certain sectors of agriculture, like dairy, immigrant labor makes up nearly 50% of the workforce. Lack of a qualified workforce puts animal health and product safety at risk for American consumers, and threatens family-owned farms across the state. In the restaurant industry, while demand is increasing, finding workers has remained a struggle. The solution lies in part with the rapidly growing population of foreign-born Hoosiers who play a crucial role in creating a stable and reliable workforce so that employers can grow and thrive, lifting up the entire economy. Immigrants in Indiana power key industries like farming (ranked top-five nationally for crop production) and swine and poultry production (also top five). They play a critical role in other industries including construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. In total, they constitute a large educated proportion of Indiana’s labor force. 

The event is sponsored by the American Business Immigration Coalition, Indiana Dairy Producers, AmericanHort, and the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association.


Steve Obert, Executive Director, Indiana Dairy Producers and 5th-generation Indiana dairy producer said during the event: “The Farm Workforce Modernization Act is all about fixing something that was wrong 35 years ago…We realize that all legislation is probably never perfect or complete. But there is only one thing worse than that and that is the unwillingness from our representatives to make the effort to try to make improvements so that it actually works for our communities, state, and nation…The success of farms really depends on the well-being of their employees. That’s why dairy producers support the Dream Act. All we need is for our elected officials to represent the interest and the desires of our citizens.”

Sam Murillo, Health Services Student and DREAMer and scholar, said during the event: “I’m the first college graduate in my family with a degree in health services and a certification as a community health worker. I want to ask Senators Braun and Young, my Senators, the Senators of the place I call home, and the Senators of the place my younger brother resides and is now going through the same difficulties I faced because of his status like many other students, to work with your fellow senators to pass the Dream Act and give me and hundreds of thousand like myself a chance to give back to the community, which is all we have ever asked for. 

Alfonso Vidal, President, Vidal Plastics, LLC, who was forced to leave Venezuela in 1997 after being kidnapped by Columbian FARC guerillas, settled in Evansville long term in the wake of Hugo Chavez’s rise to power before establishing his plastics manufacturing company, said during the event: “As immigrants from Venezuela, {my wife and I} have been blessed with many opportunities in this country. That’s why we have always supported the Dream Act, also the SECURE Act. It is important to make it happen. Immigration has fueled the growth of this country with innovation, investment, and entrepreneurship. But we are at a crossroads. We can choose to continue to add the necessary fuel to our society or cut off the fuel supply. It is time to put our heads together to solve our differences. It is time to come together to give others the necessary path to greatness, the path to innovate, the path to invest, the path to grow, the path to American citizenship.”

Brady and Dennis Mouzin, Owners, Mouzin Brothers Farms, said during the event: “We urge Sens. Braun and Young to please support any bipartisan effort that would secure a stable and reliable workforce for our industry. We will also urge you that if you want to come and see the economic impact that the produce industry has in our state, and if you want to see the reliability and dynamics that we have going with our migrant workforce, to please come and visit our farm. Please support this bipartisan effort. A large industry in Indiana relies on it.”

Patrick Tamm, President  & CEO, Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association, said during the event: “If a producer cannot get a product because visas are held up, that impacts you at the grocery store, it impacts you at the restaurant, it impacts what we can offer on the menu, everything is interconnected. It’s time to support some common sense, bipartisan improvements that improve not just the lives of those directly impacted but also improves your life as a consumer…If we improve our ability to hire and continue to diversify our workforce, our economic recovery will be quicker and more efficient for all. We have multiple legislative proposals, and the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association wholeheartedly supports those efforts and have done so for quite some time. We will continue to do so until common sense, immigration reform is fully implemented.”


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 citizens.