Facing an aging population and a labor shortage exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, on Friday, June 18, 2021, Maine business, faith, education, civic and immigrant leaders held a virtual forum making the case to Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Angus King (I-ME) for urgently needed bipartisan immigration solutions to expand our workforce, bring certainty to families and employers, and help Maine’s communities and economy grow.
Hosted by MeBIC and its partnerthe American Business Immigration Coalition (ABIC), Growing Maine – Bipartisan Immigration Solutions 2021 was a clear call to Maine’s Senators to lead the charge for bipartisan Senate action this summer on three common-sense immigration solutions whose counterparts have already passed in the House of Representatives: the Dream Act, the companion bill to the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, and the SECURE Act. Each proposal recognizes immigrants’ vital and growing contributions to Maine’s economy and communities and is critical to addressing our state’s demographic challenges. For a link to the recording click here.
The broad array of speakers included:
- Sen. Susan Collins, by video
- Sen. Angus King, statement read by staff
- Rep. Chellie Pingree, by video
- Rep. Jared Golden, statement read by staff
- David Barber, Business Development Specialist, Tyson; Former CEO, Barber Foods
- Julie-Marie Bickford, Executive Director, Maine Dairy Industry Association
- Paul Bolin, SVP, Chief Human Resource Officer, Northern Light Health
- Xavier Botana, Superintendent, Portland Public Schools
- Mufalo Chitham, Executive Director, Maine Immigrants Rights Coalition
- Ben Conniff, Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder, Luke’s Lobster
- Dana Connors, President, Maine State Chamber of Commerce
- Bishop Robert Deeley, Roman Catholic Diocese of Maine
- Greg Dugal, Director of Government Affairs, Hospitality Maine
- Kerem Durdag, President & CEO, GWI
- Lori Dwyer, JD, President & CEO, Penobscot Community Health Care
- Heather Johnson, Commissioner, Maine Department of Economic & Community Development
- Roger Katz, Attorney; former State Senator
- Brian Langley, Chef/Owner Union River Lobster Pot; former State Senator
- Matt Marks, CEO, AGC Maine
- Fortunat Mueller, PE, President & Co-Founder, ReVision Energy
- Angela Okafor, Bangor City Councilor; Owner, Tropical Tastes and Styles International Market; Attorney
- Curtis Picard, CAE, President & CEO, Retail Association of Maine
- Jake Pierson, MCN, Owner, Pierson Nurseries
- Lee Umphrey, President & CEO, Eastern Maine Development Corporation
- Eric Venturini, Executive Director, Wild Blueberry Commission of Maine
The House has acted and the ball is now in the Senate’s court. The speakers above eloquently laid out why Maine needs immigrants, and immigration reform. It’s time for the Senate to act.
Hear about how immigrants are essential for strong Maine communities and to have a growing economy in the recording of the event here.