Craig Regelbrugge, Vice President for Governmental Relations & Research with the American Nursery & Landscape Association briefed tobacco growers on the current status of immigration reform at the recently concluded 2010 tobacco forum.
Regelbrugge says that there are three possible scenarios for immigration reform this year:
“Okay, let’s talk about those scenarios, a little bit.
Comprehensive: if a comprehensive bill were to come together, it’s almost a certainty that it would contain the reforms of AgJobs. They’re considered a settled matter by many in leadership, so the reforms of AgJobs would likely make it into a comprehensive bill. But, the reality is that time is running out, momentum is running, the health care debate fundamentally changed the political landscape, the mood in congress, we’ve got elections looming, everybody’s scared about their own skin.”
And then there’s the second scenario, the so-called Dream Act:
“Option B, or Scenario B, is a narrower ‘down payment’ bill. There are two measures that are widely discusses as fitting inside such a bill . One is the Dream Act. The Dream Act is popular among a lot of the Hispanic advocates, and you know, the do-gooder groups as I’ll call them. The Dream Act basically deals with the status of children and young adults who are brought to this country as minors, not of free will and have grown up here and have no status. They’re getting through high school and they’re hitting a wall, no future. The Dream Act, however you choose to feel about it, is popular and somewhat bi-partisan, and it is seen as somewhat of logical down payment.”
As well as:
“So is AgJobs, by some it is seen as…ag has an urgent problem, there is a need to deal with it. Senator Feinstein in California is absolutely determined to find a way to move AgJobs this year. She sees a narrow down-payment bill as the most viable strategy. It’s probably the only strategy that has any viability, although the hurdles will be very, very great. I think the good news is, ag has essentially made it’s case on the need…we have essentially made our case on the need for the workers. And we enjoy broader bi-partisan support in congress than pretty much anything else touching on immigration.”
And the most likely approach by Congress:
“The third scenario, and the most likely one is that nothing happens. Folks, if nothing happens, those of you in H2A better be prepared to live with the Obama H2A regulations for the foreseeable future. There is no way out, as far as we see it there is no good way out of the Obama regulations other than congress acting. And we believe that if something does not happen this year, we may be living with those reg’s for a period of time.”
Hear all of Craig Regelbrugge’s informative and enlightening talk on SFNToday.com...
Immigration Reform & Agriculture - part 2 -- click here...
Immigration Reform & Agriculture - part 1 -- click here...