GEARS UP FOR RETURN - IMMIGRATION REFORM DOMINATES
the U.S. Senate prepares to return to the Hill after its spring recess Monday
(April 24), immigration reform dominates the picture. A compromise measure, by
Senators Mel Martinez, R-Fla., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., would give agriculture
workers who lack proper immigration status an opportunity to apply for legal status
in the United States under certain provisions. The Senate had adjourned for recess
after a procedural move blocked the bills progress.
Martinez says he has commitments from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and Judiciary
Committee Chairman Arlen Specter that the immigration bill would come up again
by May 4. Sen. Martinez hopes the committee can quickly send it back to the full
Senate without further amendments. In the meantime, please call [Senate
Minority Leader Harry Reid] and tell him how important this bill is for you,
he told agricultural leaders and immigration advocates in a conference call Wednesday
Martinez-Hagel compromise reiterates much of the same language already contained
in a comprehensive bill that the Judiciary Committee had approved March 27 and
another measure sponsored by Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy,
D-Mass., establishing a guest-worker program and provisions to put illegal immigrants
on a path toward permanent legal status.
still subject to change, the current bill contains language that creates a specific
program for agricultural workers that is similar to the AgJobs legislation that
FFVA has supported previously.
IN THIS WEEK'S RAP-UP
articles are indicated in bold.)