Farmers across the country are still pressuring Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, hoping that, in the absence of a five-year farm bill, politicians will do something to aid the farm community in a difficult period of transition.
In the past several years, immigration has become a controversial issue in American politics. While federal policy has not significantly changed in years, voters have become increasingly hostile to undocumented workers. Several states have passed tough laws designed to prevent undocumented immigrants from residing or working in the United States.
While these laws have been successful in enforcing immigration policy, they have come at a significant cost to American farmers, who have seen a steep decline in available farm labor.
While the Senate recently passed a revenue neutral immigration bill that would provide undocumented residents a path to citizenship (after paying fines and back taxes) and would offer work visas to non-citizen farm workers, the bill has been stalled in the House, which has refused to vote on the measure.
With Congress preparing to return to work, farmers, particularly thouse from major Southwestern farm states like California, are hoping that continued pressure, particularly on rural politicians, can convince the House to vote the Senate bill into law.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer