Farm visas offer opening in immigration struggle

As Congress and the White House attempt to reach an agreement on the first overhaul of US immigration laws for 25 years, one point of very simple consensus would seem to be that the United States’ crop producers need a pool of workers that are both reliable and legal.  All Americans in fact are affected by this piece of the immigration puzzle, with both the affordability and the stability of the food supply up for grabs as a result.

Members of Congress are only too well aware of the issue and if an agreement cannot be reached on farm US visas then any chance of reaching meaningful legislation on the issue of immigration as a whole would seem to be miniscule.

In both chambers of Congress, bipartisan groups have been attempting to finalize their bills for this week before they leave the US capital city of Washington for a break of two weeks.  While agreement has been reached on a number of different aspects of the overhaul of immigration laws, including offering a path to US citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country, enforcement of immigration law, and enhancements to border security, the controversy over farm visas continues to fester.

“It’s absolutely crucial,” says one of the leading negotiators in the House on immigration, Rep Mario Diaz-Balart.  “It’s something that a lot of members expect to be part of any immigration bill.  Without that, we potentially lose votes.”