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Voice: Congressinal action needed

June 09, 2007

After years of heated debate over immigration reform there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

After countless hours of work spent on a bipartisan compromise, our elected officials have finally hammered out a plan. The compromise drafted by Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., is a good starting point for those on both sides of the issue to make their case and enact a solution. There is still much work to be done to ensure this important issue does not remain unresolved.

Immigration reform is a tough issue; that much we know. The compromise reached last week is not an amnesty bill. The goal is to stop illegal immigration without hurting our local and national economies or denying our heritage. As President Bush recently stated, the compromise would produce an immigration system that enforces realistic laws and upholds the American tradition of welcoming those who share our values and our love of freedom.

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The compromise provides the border security measures we all are concerned about; it also contains a temporary worker program necessary for the survival of the American farm. The labor shortages in the field are real — some areas experienced an estimated 30 percent decrease last year. Expectations for this year are worse because of tougher border enforcement and an increase in government raids on American businesses and farms. Crop losses have also been significant because of too few workers and too much work to be done.

For farms to survive here in the Imperial Valley, Washington must act now on immigration reform. Without a solution, one of the most critical issues faced by this nation today will continue to languish while America’s economy will suffer.

We believe the hard-working people who are putting food on America’s dinner tables will be hit hardest unless Congress finds a way to turn this compromise into law. Agriculture needs action now from Congress.

AYRON S. MOIOLA, Executive Director

Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association

ACIR, Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform

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