Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack is once again calling on congress to work on immigration reform stating that the impacts to agriculture are affecting the rest of the US economy:
“We are not fully utilizing the agricultural production capacity and the export potential of ag. That is costing income and jobs. Its not just about ag, the reality is that immigration reform is good for the economy as a whole. We know that people would be put to work; tens of thousands of new jobs would be created with immigration reform. We know the deficit would be reduced by $850 Billion over a 20 year period. We know that social security trust fund will be more secure because people coming out of the shadows paying their full tax burden. So its not just good for ag but right for the economy. Its also right for both political parties because the majority of Americans see the wisdom of fixing this broken system.”
Vilsack says with so many different segments of the economy on board with working on reform, he’s mystified as to the lack of action:
“At the end of the day, if the majority of Americans are for this, if business and labor are joined in a call for reform, if faith based leaders and progressive leaders are consistent in their message that this is something that needs to be done, its just a mystery to me why its not getting done. The house leadership has been very vocal about their support of reform so you have to ask yourself why not now?”
Vilsack lays the lack of action on the shoulders of the House of Representatives:
“I would ask the House leaders to do what leaders do; to compel the members to put bills on the floor and get it to a vote. I’m confident that if immigration reform proposals are put before the entire House that there will be enough numbers to pass. Then we can begin a conversation to work out the differences with the Senate. But until the House acts, its akin to the farm bill.”
Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack.