Last year, the issue of immigration took front and center stage in the Republican led Congress. In the end, however, many issues surrounding immigration were not addressed.
In the 110th Congress, I am hopeful that the new Democratic Leadership will have the courage to tackle this issue, which brings out strong feelings on all sides and will without a doubt require compromise.
In the mean time, you may be interested to know that I am an original cosponsor of HR 371, the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits, and Security (AgJOBS) Act. This is a bipartisan bicameral bill that would allow undocumented agricultural workers to become eligible for a permanent residence after meeting certain work requirements. AgJOBS enjoyed much success last year as it was included in the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill, S 2611, which passed the Senate. AgJOBS was developed based on years of discussion among growers, farm worker advocates, immigration issue advocates and legislators and I look forward to seeing this bill move through the legislative process.
As more and more immigration bills are introduced, please know that I will support legislation that promotes family reunification, asylum and refugee admissions, and employment-based immigration and strikes a balance between American jobs, border safety and national security interests. Anyone who enters the US without permission is in violation of U.S. immigration laws and will be penalized. However, long-term residents, many of whom work hard toiling in our fields, pay their fair share of taxes, and who have U.S. citizen children, have earned access leading to regularization of status.