National Editor Tom KarstChecking in from Washington’s state on the coverage of the newly introduced immigration reform bill, I’m curious to see how the legislation is viewed by the Drudge Report, industry leaders and farm worker advocates.
So far, thumbs up from the industry and farm worker advocates and one thumbs down from Drudge.
Drudge can be expected to convey the initial sense of public awareness/outrage about the immigration reform legislation, while industry leaders and farm worker lobbyists will reveal enthusiasm for immigration reform/guest worker provisions.
Drudge’s headlines, as usual, emphasized the reactionary element of the political spectrum. The headlines tonight "Congressman: Immigration Bill 'Worse Than We Thought'...
In contrast, The Packer’s coverage by Coral Beach noted that “Produce groups join others to support immigration reform”
The political math for immigration is hard to figure, but one assumes there will be significant momentum for reform this year. One thing is certain: the more negative stories that Drudge links to on immigration, the tougher the slog it will be for Republicans to find the resolve to support comprehensive immigration reform.
What does the bill contain? Here is a selected summary of the ag-related provisions from the Senate summary:
The full text of the bill can be found here.
United Fresh summarizes the ag labor provisions this way:
Key Agricultural Labor Provisions in Immigration Reform Bill
Current undocumented farmworkers would be eligible to obtain legal status through a new Blue Card program if they choose to remain working in agriculture:
Ag workers who can document working in U.S. agriculture for a minimum of 100 workdays or 575 hours prior to December 31, 2012 can adjust to this new Blue Card status.