Buoyed by public and political support, a western Minnesota dairy farmer has decided to stay and fight immigration rules that threatened his family and farm.
“I was tired of fighting, but you get a lot of energy out of it if you feel the back-up from everybody” Kor Mulder said at his farm on Monday.
Under the terms of the E-2 Investor Visa by which Mulder legally entered the country two decades ago, his two sons were required to the leave the United States when they turned 21.
Mulder’s son Garion went back to Holland last year. Until recently, Mulder’s younger son Kelsey thought he’d be forced out too.
But Mulder’s mood and prospects changed in the days following the airing of a KARE 11 story shared thousands of times on social media.
Calls poured in from lawmakers, reporters and other families in the same boat.
“Things are moving and it’s great to feel the whole nation behind you,” Mulder said. “I think that helps too, that you’re not alone anymore.”
After his story aired, Mulder says he was contacted by the offices of Minnesota’s U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith.
He’s also been working closely with an aide to U.S. Representative Collin Peterson.
Mulder's case and others like it have provided some fuel for reform of the E-2 Investor Visa that would allow depends of visa holders to remain in the country longer, if not indefinitely.
With hope that Kelsey can stay long-term, he’s applied for a temporary visa to stay on his father’s farm as an essential worker.
“It’s definitely boosted morale around the yard, that’s for sure,” Kelsey Mulder said.
His older brother Garion hopes to return to Minnesota from Holland. He’s applied for a student visa to study dairy production in nearby South Dakota.
“It’s still temporary, but hopefully the outlook is it’s permanent,” Kor Mulder said.
Laws still need to be changed, but Mulder sees progress.
“It’s going to happen, I know it’s going to happen,” Mulder said.
Hope is now the most valued commodity at Mulder Dairy.