Immigration Reform: Small Window is Closing Fast
Monday, November 4, 2013
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
WASHINGTON, D.C. – That’s how Craig Regelbrugge, ANLA’s vice
president of government affairs describes the prospects for getting anything done
on immigration reform in this session of Congress: a small window that is
To recap, last June the U.S. Senate passed S. 744, a
comprehensive immigration bill that embodied most of what the green industry
has been seeking for at least the past fifteen years.
The Senate bill was negotiated by a bipartisan group of
senators, the so-called "Gang of Eight,” led by Republican Marco Rubio (FL) and
Democrat Chuck Schumer (NY).
The Senate bill was not received warmly by the majority House
Republican conference. House Speaker John Boehner said at the time that the
House strategy would be to do smaller pieces of legislation, rather one comprehensive
bill, if the House would do anything at all.
So far, five bills have been introduced and passed through House
committees dealing with various pieces of immigration reform. None has yet been
scheduled for a vote.
But the political landscape may be a bit more fluid since
the government shutdown in early October. Small cracks are appearing in Republican
solidarity. Three house Republicans have now signed onto a Democratic House bill
that deals with immigration reform comprehensively.
Regelbrugge sees November as the window. After November the federal
budget negotiations, the debt ceiling and the potential for another government
shutdown will quickly occupy Congress’ attention.
With 2014 being an election year, there is little chance of
anything as controversial as immigration reform getting through the Congressional
So an all-out push in on to convince House Republicans to
move immigration reform legislation now. Last week, hundreds of business
leaders, faith leaders and law enforcement officials flew into Washington to urge
PLNA has been working with other Pennsylvania agriculture organizations
to meet with our Republican members of the House to convince them to ask
Speaker Boehner to move forward on almost any immigration reform legislation.
Once a bill or bills pass the House a conference committee between the House
and Senate can work out their differences and put a bipartisan bill on the
floor of each house for an up or down vote.
PLNA members have hosted or will host meetings with Congressman
Kelly, Dent and Fitzpatrick. Other ag groups have taken the lead on meetings
with other members of the delegation.
PLNA is urging it members to write, call or visit their Congressman
to urge them to bring immigration reform to the House floor for a vote. Follow
this link to write your Congressman: https://www.votervoice.net/ANLA/Campaigns/32817/Respond.