Immigration Reform Bill

Immigration Reform Bill

Immigration Reform Bill

I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.

Senate Bill S. 744, which was approved 15 -3 by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, works towards opening the door to U.S. citizenship for more than eleven million undocumented immigrants, while at the same time improving border security. It now moves on to the entire Senate where it is expected to be debated through most of June. Dan Fazio, with Washington Farm Labor Association, says there were no major changes to the agriculture portions of the bill.

FAZIO: Just minor adjustments that were made in what’s called the managers amendment . No changes to the bill that was negotiated by the Agriculture Workforce Coalition and that’s our goal moving forth in the Senate.

Fazio says the current bill as is would be quite livable, but more than likely there will be amendments made.

FAZIO: We could live with the bill right now. It is several orders of magnitude better than what we’re living with now in terms of a guest worker program, and it would provide legal status to the workers that are here now. Our message right now is let’s pass that bill out of the Senate and then lets still get it better over in the House. It is going to be a major restructuring in the way we do business from about 2015 to 2020 in the agriculture workforce. We’re going to have a lot of our workers coming in as guest workers. Right now we’re up to about 5,000 guest workers in Washington state. Five years ago it was 1,000. I think that that figure is going to go up to about 20,000. These guest worker programs are going to be what’s going to save labor intensive agriculture in Washington state, and this is kind of the first step. We’ll really see that kick in when the mandatory e-verify kicks in, and that’s five years from the time the bill is passed.

For a summary of Senate Bill S. 744 progress through May 24th visit WAFLA’s website at


I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Ag Information Network. 

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