The first week in February has turned out to be a volatile one for those following Immigration Reform in Washington. As the National Council of Ag Employers started their meeting, the House Republican leadership posted principles for moving forward on Immigration Reform on the Speaker’s website. John Boehner indicated that a piecemeal approach would would be the way the House would proceed but emphasized that Agriculture is just one segment that needed reforms sooner than later.
That was certainly encouraging. Yesterday, a briefing was held for House members
and staff on the desperate need agriculture had for reforms. Several groups made presentations at the briefing sponsored by the Partnership for a New American Economy. PNAE has started an immigration reform campaign that will be highlighting various industries over the next several months that rely on migrant or immigrant labor. The overall campaign site is iamimmigration.org. The farm centric posts can be found on the site this month and under the #ifarmimmigration on social media.
Then, this morning, apparently under pressure from the far right, Speaker Boehner came out and said there was little chance of anything passing the House this year. That was very disappointing. But if anything has been proven this Congress it is that House leadership can change its mind rather quickly. To use a term I used to hear as a kid, Boehner can get glad in the same pants he got mad in.
At this point, here is the status of things as I see it. The closer we get to the mid term elections, the harder it will be to pass anything on Immigration Reform. Many in DC are continuing to push hard for some type of reform. The two industries that seem to have the most traction are agriculture and high-tech. Both have broken visa programs and both need changes.
I had felt at one point that if nothing was moving by the first of 2014, we had no chance. NO chance is a bit strong but it is going to be tough. Most here feel that we may not see much movement until after the primaries. Then the Republicans will feel comfortable taking this hot button issue up. So… It’s been a wild week in DC on Ag and the roller-coaster is just getting going.