House GOP unveils its immigration reform standards

By Derrick Cain

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Jan. 30, 2014 - The House Republican leadership released a list of principles today that could lead to a pathway to legal status, but not citizenship, for many undocumented people, including farm workers.

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The list was released at the GOP retreat in Cambridge, Md., by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. The one-pager pushes securing border security and better enforcement of current laws.

“None of this can happen before specific enforcement triggers have been implemented to fulfill our promise to the American people that from here on, our immigration laws will indeed be enforced,” the list said.

Still, Republicans identified the needs of the agricultural sector, which has been pushing for many years to be able to supply farmers with legal workers. “It is imperative that these temporary workers are able to meet the economic needs of the country and do not displace or disadvantage American workers,” the list said.

Tom Nassif, president and chief executive officer of Western Growers, said the principles in the list “respect the rule of law while strengthening the ability for agriculture to remain competitive in the world market.”

“We especially applaud the specific acknowledgement of agriculture's unique needs and look forward to working towards crafting a long term solution,” Nassif said.

Arturo S. Rodriguez, president of the United Farm Workers of America, said Republicans have begun to realize they can no longer ignore the issue of temporary workers.

“Now it's time for them to translate these vague principles into a legislative proposal,” Rodriguez said.

“Only then will we be able to judge whether House Republicans are serious about meeting our standards: an inclusive path to legal status upfront and an achievable path to citizenship over time.”

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