Immigration Reform Back in the Spotlight

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Politicians, clergy, university officials and farmers called on Congress to pass immigration reform last week during a series of events held throughout Illinois.

Event sponsors included Illinois Business Immigration Coalition, Bibles Badges and Businesses, and Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB).

Reps. Aaron Schock, R-Peoria, and Adam Kinzinger, R-Manteno, addressed the crowd by video during last week’s Chicago event, “Immigration Bottom Line 2014.” Hundreds of Republican leaders and CEOs attended the event, including IFB President
Rich Guebert Jr.

“We need a clear path to citizenshipImmreformins for workers already here, and a fair and efficient on-ramp for those who want to come here,” Schock said. “We should never forget we are all a nation of immigrants.”

Kinzinger said: “We must work hard to come to an agreement on how to bring undocumented workers out of the shadows, legally entering the work force and becoming part of the American melting pot that makes this country great.”

In a statement to Crain’s Chicago Business, Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville said in part: “I do support and my district supports a strong agricultural worker bill. I also support bills providing expedited visas for high tech workers, stronger border security and worker verification. We also have to address the 12 million undocumented immigrants who are already here by moving them legally into the work force, not by granting them unconditional amnesty.”

Immigration reform remains stalled in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Harry Alten, a farmer from Harvard, who spoke during a panel discussion in Rockford, agreed.

“A lot of people just think it’s grunt work,” Alten told FarmWeek. “My employees have a lot of skills.”

But Alten says he isn’t optimistic Congress will pass immigration reform.

“We get a lot of rhetoric, a lot of talk, a lot of sympathy, but they’re so afraid of doing anything that might jeopardize their re-election campaign, they get nothing done,” he said.

Copy provided by FarmWeek - Deana Stroisch

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