Immigration reform is long overdue
Like millions of Americans, we have hopes that finally some immigration reform will take place this year. It is long overdue, and far too many people in this nation are in limbo because of inaction in Washington.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has put forth legislation that would be a major overhaul of immigration polices and put millions of illegal residents on a path to citizenship. The proposal has been endorsed by President Obama, but he has not suggested any legislation of his own.
Addressing the issue of immigration has been on the table for years. More people have been deported during the past four years than in any other four-year period. Students who were brought here by their parents years ago cannot get a job. Farmers are seeing a shortage of workers because there is no policy to bring workers into the United States.
The proposal by the senators is a good start and much of what they proposed should be passed. We especially like that they are addressing the farm worker shortage, the plight of young people and efforts to give illegal residents a quick path to citizenship.
We agree that those here illegally should not be given blanket amnesty, but a chance to become citizens or receive work visas.
We do question the provision that our borders need to be strengthened before any work is done in immigration reform. The two should be done simultaneously. The quicker we address the human side of immigration, the better. But eventually, borders need to strengthened.
Addressing the farm worker shortage is very important to counties like Tulare. Farmers have been complaining for years of a farm worker shortage and it only makes sense that those who want to come here and work, then go back to their native land, be legally allowed to do so. And, farmers should have a way to hire workers without the threat of prosecution.