House Republicans unveil immigration reform ‘principles’
How and when the Republican proposals advance is uncertain. The future is full of potential political ramifications in an election year, with conservative Republicans opposed to pursuing reform, at the same time the GOP faces the prospects of losing more Latino voters to the Democratic Party. If it is to move forward, congressional action may have to wait until early summer, protecting Republican incumbents from conservative political opponents in spring primaries.
While Democratic leaders and the Obama Administration took a cautious approach to the Republican principles, Tamar Jacoby, president of ImmigrationWorks USA, a national federation of employers working to advance immigration law reform, called the Republican guidelines “a historic breakthrough” and a “game changer.”
Among the most important of the principles, Jacoby said, was the commitment to create new, better, streamlined programs to admit foreign workers – high-skilled and low-skilled – who will grow U.S. businesses and contribute to the economy.
“Without immigrant workers, the hospitality, construction, food processing and food service industries would all be severely hobbled, in some regions coming close to collapse,” Jacoby said. ”Employers across these sectors often search desperately for legal options, and they need help from Washington – additional lawful ways to meet their labor needs.”
“The best antidote to illegal immigration is a legal immigration system that works – and an effective guest worker program, along with enhanced border security and worksite enforcement,” Jacoby said.
Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said a comprehensive labor plan “is long overdue” to address the agricultural labor shortage. He commended House leadership for recognizing that farmers and ranchers need access to a legal and stable workforce.
“America’s farmers and ranchers depend on the workers who show up every day to tend crops and care for livestock,” Stallman said. ”In short, our farmers and ranchers need long-term access to a steady and reliable supply of skilled agricultural workers.”
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