Immigration reform is even more of a politically charged issue than the Farm Bill, Debt Ceiling, or Food Stamps. The Senate has passed a comprehensive reform package, while the House is considering several separate bills that address different aspects of immigration. House Speaker John Boehner said this week that he is hopeful the House will deal with immigration reform by the end of the year, “I still think that immigration reform is an important subject that needs to be addressed, and I am hopeful.” Indiana Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Megan Ritter says the issue needs to be dealt with this year, not put off until next year, “We certainly do not want to wait until next year, we are hopeful that in the next few weeks there will be movement on several different issues that will allow immigration reform to move forward.”
She said many sectors of the US economy, including agriculture, are being impacted by the lack of reform in the nation’s immigration system, “There are a lot of farmers in the country that are making decisions on how they can grow their business, and labor is a key component of that.” She added that, with uncertainty about the availability of a farm labor force, some may cut back production while others may move their production off shore. Ultimately, she said failure to reform the US immigration system could lead to having to import more food into the United states.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says immigration is a politically divisive issue, but is hopeful Republicans, Democrats, and the President can find a compromise. He expects certain parts of the system will be fixed, but feels a comprehensive overall of the system is not likely to be passed by this Congress.