USDA secretary stresses immigration reform in Farm Bureau talk
» June 9, 2006 «
Speaking to family farmers and farm leaders today at the California Farm Bureau Federation, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said the Bush administration remains firmly committed to comprehensive immigration reform and will press a congressional conference committee for quick resolution of the issue.
|US Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns discussed immigration reform with family farmers and farm leaders at the California Farm Bureau.|
Johanns addressed a group of 40 farmers, farm leaders and reporters at the Farm Bureau offices in Sacramento. He said he's optimistic that a comprehensive, bipartisan bill will emerge from the conference committee.
"This administration is very, very committed to getting to the finish line," Johanns said. "Comprehensive immigration reform is necessary, it is important and we are absolutely committed to it."
A House-Senate conference committee will soon meet to reconcile differences between the immigration bills passed by the two houses of Congress. The House bill focuses on border enforcement. California farm groups have supported the Senate bill, which combines improved border enforcement with reforms to temporary-worker programs.
Johanns said a comprehensive approach will assure border security.
"How are you going to have effective border control if you don't have a comprehensive plan? How are you going to have effective border control if you say to California farmers, 'We know if you don't get labor, you're not going to get your crops in, but so what?' Is that effective?" he asked.
California Farm Bureau Vice President Paul Wenger, who moderated the meeting, said farmers want the conference committee to craft a balanced approach to immigration reform.
"Farm Bureau and other farm groups are committed to assure that a final bill sent to President Bush includes the appropriate combination of security improvements and reform to temporary-worker programs," Wenger said.
The California Farm Bureau Federation, the state's largest farm organization, works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 88,000 members.
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