Immigration reform: Farm-worker compromise brings bill a step closer to Senate floor
Farmer and labor groups are voicing support for a deal on farm workers, but it’s just one piece of the complicated effort by both political parties to craft an immigration reform bill this year.
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The deal on farm workers is just one piece of the reform-bill puzzle, but it symbolizes the larger push for a bargain on one of America’s most controversial social issues.
On a practical level, the move for immigration reform boils down to political bargaining among a few key lawmakers from both parties – in this case Hatch, Feinstein, & Co.
When immigration legislation comes to a vote in the Republican-led House, a central question will be how much conservative sentiment has changed due to last fall’s election results. In the aftermath of President Obama’s reelection win and Republicans’ failure to take control of the Senate, one of the most often-cited lessons from the outcome was that Republicans need to do more to attract Hispanic voters.
Reform contains many elements, ranging from border security to policies toward immigrants who work in high-tech industries or who seek graduate degrees.
Senator Hatch emphasized that, for his part, getting one piece in place doesn’t guarantee his “yes” vote on an eventual bill being crafted by the so-called “gang of eight” in the Senate.
"While I understand this [farm-worker provision] will be included in the Gang of 8 proposal, no one should assume that I'm backing their overall plan," Hatch said in his statement.
United Farm Workers president Arturo Rodriguez said the labor group is “very pleased” by the compromise.
“Under the proposed new immigration process, farm workers would be able to work in the fields without fear of getting deported immediately and will be able to reunite with their families in a relatively short period of time,” he said. Workers would have “the right to earn a green card in the future by continuing to work in agriculture.”