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Immigration reform needed to ensure continued health of U.S. agriculture, says Vilsack. Claims reform would lead to job production, deficit reduction, border security. Pushes for House vote.
Vilsack then hit on several points he returned to repeatedly: the lack of reform means “uncertainty and instability” for American agriculture.
He said analysis of the Senate bill showed that immigration reform would reduce the national deficit $850 million over the next 20 years.
It would also, “help grow the economy, spur new job growth, bring folks out of the shadows and help and strengthen the Social Security system. It would result in historic investment in border security and provide an earned pathway to citizenship for 11 million to 12 million people in this country…
“I emphasize the word ‘earned.’ There would be a financially penalty paid, back taxes would have to be paid.”
The lack of reform means farmworkers and farms are “at a significant disadvantage in several respects. One, some farms are no longer able to harvest what they’ve planted. We’ve seen such circumstances in many parts of the country. In California, there are situations where farmers are reducing acreage because of the drought and lack of a stable workforce.
“I call upon the House leadership -- that has recently been quite vocal in support for the need for comprehensive immigration reform -- to do what leaders are supposed to do. Bring it up for a vote. Get something passed so we can work out whatever differences there are between the Senate and House versions.”