After years of discussions and debates, last week the Senate found the right combination of programs and political coverage to pass a comprehensive Immigration Bill. The Bill received an impressive 68 ‘ayes’ (including 14 Republicans) against 32 ‘nays’.
The eyes of America now turns to the House of Representatives to see how (or even if) they deal with immigration reform legislation. Immigration reform not only touches millions of people personally, but it will affect the the nation’s economy. Immigration reform is important to the Agricultural Industries in our congressional district. Rep. Reed has said “Agricultural provisions will be essential in broader immigration reform.“
Congressman Reed has been meeting with farmers around our district. In April he met with farmers from Schuyler County. In May he met with his Agricultural Advisory Board in Ontario County. He discussed immigration reform at both meetings. He seems very supportive of the farmers in our district. “Agriculture brings affordable, locally grown food to our families’ kitchen tables and an effective system means our farmers can continue to produce a safe, abundant food supply.”
He understand their basic needs. Last December he proudly announced his proposed reform for electronic H-2A Application Filing. H-2A refers to non-immigrant visas (temporary agricultural workers) who will soon be able to apply on-line. These temporary workers include year-round livestock and dairy workers. In the H-2A category the temporary workers can get worker visas with a maximum 12-month period of admissions which may be renewed three months after the end of each such period. While in Schuyler County Reed summarized, “Operations like Bergen Farms here in Odessa are small businesses too and these farmers need certainty in order to make decisions for their operations. A stable, legal workforce is central to that certainty and will have a positive economic impact felt locally. We need to put our farmers in a position where they have a reliable workforce to meet their demand and do what they do best.”
That is why I was surprised when last week Rep. Reed spoke unfavorably about the Senate’s Comprehensive Immigration Bill, especially the ‘Pathway To Citizenship’ concept. Rep. Reed said, “I believe, looking at the Senate bill, that this is amnesty, and I don’t support amnesty. … It’s not fair to the people who came here legally to see the Senate try to push amnesty across the spectrum for those who came here illegally.”
Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the leading advocates of the Immigration Bill has an answer to those who question the ‘Pathway To Amnesty’. “When you have to wait 10 years, when you have to admit wrongdoing, pay a significant fine, go to the back of the line, work, stay clear of the law and learn English, no one would call that amnesty in another situation.” Except our congressman does call it amnesty.
Rep. Reed tells the Agricultural Advisory Board that he supports a “stable, legal workforce”, and which is what he calls temporary workers, but is opposed the steps to become a citizen. I would think a citizen would be a more stable worker than a temporary one who needs to renew his working papers on a regular basis.
This is not the first time he has told the farmers one thing, then voted the opposite. The most recent time was the dairy amendment to the Farm Bill.
Rep. Reed is one of republican representatives who looks as if he is sabotaging the Immigration Bill for personal political gains. He is trying to convince the radical Tea Party republicans he is one of them. He does not want to be in a primary in September, 2014. Actions speak louder than words. We will be comparing what Rep. Reed says to what he does.
- Sen. Schumer: House will pass Senate immigration bill (politic365.com)
- Everything On House Immigration Reform Efforts (huffingtonpost.com)