Farm Bureau welcomes progress on landmark immigration bill
» May 25, 2006 «
Calling it a breakthrough for family farmers and those who work for them, the leader of California's largest farm organization praised today's U.S. Senate approval of a comprehensive immigration-reform bill. The measure passed by a 62 to 36 vote.
California Farm Bureau Federation President Doug Mosebar said, "Today's vote represents a breakthrough for family farmers and ranchers, and for the people we employ. By voting for an immigration plan that combines improved border enforcement with responsible reforms to temporary-worker programs, the Senate has crafted a balanced approach to a complicated issue."
The bill next moves to a House-Senate conference committee, to finalize legislation to send to President Bush. The package adopted by the Senate includes an improved temporary-worker program specifically for on-farm employment, called AgJOBS.
"By adopting these much-needed reforms, the Senate has shown it understands the important role that immigrant workers play in providing safe, affordable food for American consumers," Mosebar said. "An improved temporary-worker program benefits the hard-working people who come to our country in search of jobs. It also allows farmers and ranchers to be assured that the people they hire have entered the country legally to pursue those jobs.
"Successful temporary-worker programs enhance border security. Because we know that people will continue to come into our country to work, it's much better to have a system that permits them to come legally," he said. "For decades, California family farmers have relied upon immigrant workers. Our choice is clear: develop a meaningful temporary-worker program or become dependent on other countries for our food, as we are now for fuel."
Mosebar praised the work of California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Idaho Senator Larry Craig, who led the efforts to pass an AgJOBS amendment, and said the passage of the Senate immigration-reform package marks a milestone in a years-long effort by Farm Bureau and other agricultural organizations.
"Now, we will continue to work to assure that a final bill sent to President Bush includes the appropriate combination of security improvements and reform to temporary-worker programs," he said. "Our goal remains to enhance homeland security while allowing people who want to enter the country temporarily for work to do so legally."
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 88,000 members.
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