6/27/2013 at 12:00 a.m.
This afternoon, by a vote of 68-32, the U.S. Senate passed its immigration reform bill.
Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, issued the following statement:
“The Senate’s passage today of a balanced immigration reform bill that includes a fair and workable farm labor provision is welcomed by America’s farmers and ranchers. A comprehensive agricultural labor plan that works for all sectors of agriculture and across all regions of our nation is long overdue. We commend the Senate for addressing this very important issue, which will help ensure the continued success of agriculture in our nation.
“America’s farmers and ranchers depend on the workers who show up every day to tend crops and raise livestock. The Senate-passed bill will help ensure an adequate supply of farm labor. It also provides increased surveillance of high-risk areas along our borders. One of the best ways to improve border security is to create a legal, workable way for farm workers to enter our country. With less time and resources wasted locking up lettuce harvesters, the focus can shift to where it properly belongs—keeping those with criminal intentions out of our country.
“The passing of S. 744, the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 is the first step in reforming our broken immigration system and ensuring agriculture has access to a stable and legal workforce. We look forward to working with members in the House of Representative to pass responsible immigration reform legislation that includes an earned adjustment for experienced undocumented agricultural workers and a new, flexible guestworker program. It is critical that both chambers pass legislation that can be reconciled in conference and signed into law.”
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) voted for the measure, while Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) voted against it. The bill now goes to the House, where it's future is uncertain.