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AILA Welcomes Bi-Cameral Introduction of AgJOBS

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 07011069 (posted Jan. 10, 2007)"

For Immediate Release:
January 10, 2007

Contact:
George Tzamaras
202-216-2410
gtzamaras@aila.org

Washington, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today praised the bi-cameral introduction of the Agricultural Jobs, Opportunity, Benefits, and Security Act of 2007. The bill, which has garnered broad bi-partisan support in past Congresses, was reintroduced today by Senators Feinstein (D-CA), Kennedy (D-MA), Boxer (D-CA), Craig (R-ID), and Martinez (R-FL), as well as Representatives Berman (D-CA), Thompson (D-CA), Peterson (D-MN), Costa (D-CA), Boyd (D-FL), Solis (D-CA), Baca (D-CA), Bishop (D-GA), Salazar (CO), Larsen (D-WA), Cannon (R-UT), Radanovich (R-CA), Putnam (R-FL), LaHood (R-IL), Walsh (R-NY), Kuhl (R-NY), Nunes (R-CA), L. Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Gilchrest (R-MD), and McHugh (R-NY).

"The joint House/Senate reintroduction of AgJOBS in the opening days of this new Congress is a powerful statement that the 110th Congress means to get an early and earnest start at fixing this country's broken immigration system," said AILA Executive Director Jeanne Butterfield. "We believe the time for action on this bipartisan initiative has ripened and we expect AgJOBS will finally be enacted this year - either in conjunction with a comprehensive immigration reform package or as a stand-alone bill."

Last year the Senate passed AgJOBS as part of S. 2611, explained Butterfield, but it failed when Congress hit an impasse over broader reform legislation. "The new Congress has a unique opportunity to work together toward accomplishing a bipartisan reform that will address this country's most serious immigration woes," said Butterfield. "The President wants comprehensive reform, the public supports it, and the country needs it to thrive economically and socially. The time for immigration reform is now, and we are optimistic that Congress will answer this call to set forth fair, reasonable solutions."

AgJOBS is a significant opening salvo in the immigration reform campaign. It seeks to improve the current H2-A visa program to accelerate the petition approval process for noncitizen workers to fill agricultural jobs that Americans will not take. "This is a win-win piece of legislation because it benefits workers and employers equally," Butterfield said. "AgJOBS creates a stable labor supply with a program through which future agricultural workers can legally enter the United States and it recognizes the failures of our current system by enabling undocumented agricultural workers to get right with the law and earn the privilege of legal status."

"AILA commends this bi-partisan congressional coalition for taking immediate action toward immigration reform by reintroducing this vital legislation," Butterfield concluded. "This Congress clearly understands the urgency in accomplishing comprehensive immigration reform and we will continue to support their efforts to fix our broken system."

The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

For more information contact George Tzamaras at 202-216-2410 or Brooke Hewson at 202-216-2435.

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