GOP’s Secure the Border Act ‘Devastating’ for Farmers, Says Republican Congressman

Congressman John Duarte (R-CA 13th District).

A Republican congressman says the GOP’s border bill doesn’t work for farmers or farm workers. The Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2) passed in the House last week with a vote of 219 to 213. All Democrats were opposed and all but two Republicans were in favor.

One of those two Republicans was Congressman John Duarte (R-CA 13th District). He says he cast a “no” vote for two reasons. First, he says he is opposed to the bill’s handling of the E-Verify program.

“It tied in an E-Verify program that would have been devastating for food producers or would have been devastating for farmworker families,” said Duarte. “It would have also criminalized many employers who have been participating in E-Verify but would find out that a great portion of their workforce is no longer able to continue working for them. It would have destabilized our food producers. It would destabilize communities in my district, really hurt a lot of families, and heighten food inflation. So, the E-Verify policy wasn’t well thought through. It needs to be balanced. With the guest worker program ended DACA fix to be fair.”

Secondly, Rep. Duarte thinks the GOP can create a better bill with better chances of becoming law.

“The bill itself won’t stop the chaos at the border until we tie in a few sweeteners,” he said and explained that Republicans needed to have something in the bill to encourage Democratic support. “Otherwise, we’re not going to pass any bill that’s going to make it to the president’s desk and cause any relief of the crisis at our border. So, we need to pass a bill that addresses ag workers, that addresses e-verify, and addresses DACA in a way where we attract Democrat support.”

The other Republican to vote against the bill was Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky. H.R. 2 is not likely to pass the Democrat-controlled Senate. Even if it did, the White House has indicated intentions of a veto.

Click below to hear Sabrina Halvorson’s radio news report for Hoosier Ag Today.


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