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PLNA e-News: Protecting Values In the Nation

Immigration Reform: Small Window is Closing Fast

Monday, November 4, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gregg Robertson
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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 closing fast.

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 gristmill.

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 Congressional action.

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:

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