June 13, 2007

June 13, 2007

It was disappointing to see the bipartisan immigration bill go down in flames. I know there are two sides to this issue. Republicans are divided as well as some Democrats. I know that some Republicans are against the bill just because Senator Kennedy is for it. I suspect Senator Harry Reid pulled the bill from consideration because he didn't want Presidcnt Bush to get any credit. After all, he claims it is "Bush's bill."

I remember how President Reagan and House Speaker Tip O'Neill used to argue and posture and then come together on bipartisan legislation. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see something like that now?

Agriculture needs a bipartisan immigration bill that will insure that we have labor to do the work -- slaughter the hogs and pick the strawberries. Only immigrants will do that backbreaking work. Of course, wc want them to be legal. So go ahead and build the fence. Secure the border. Deport the immigrant criminals. Let's have a national ID that we can trust when hiring.

Along with those steps, we need a humane way ofdealing with the 10 million illegals in the

U.S. now. Some have been here for years. Their children are citizens. We don't want to rip families apart. The bill in Congress now does make the illegals pay a fine and meet certain standards to stay and work.

Let's face it. This is a mess and there's no easy answer.

I don ' t think we really know how much hard, dilty, necessary work is being done by immigrants, both legal and illegal. Without them, we will see our ag industry jobs exported to Mexico and Brazil. They can raise chickens and pigs in Brazil and Argentina and then we can import the meat.

The ag industry is one ofour nation's strengths. Let's protect the resources necessary to keep it that way.

It's up to Senator Harry Reid now. Only he can bring the bill back up for consideration.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington.