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AMI Sends Letter to Senate Urging Passage of Immigration Reform

Friday, June 8, 2007

Despite Setback, Hope Remains for Comprehensive Bill

In a letter sent while the Senate was continuing consideration of comprehensive immigration reform, AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle urged passage of the proposal, noting that “this legislation provides a practical foundation to address many of the meat and poultry industry’s principles for comprehensive immigration reform, provide increased border security for our country and enhance the U.S. economy.”

Boyle reminded the Senate that a meaningful immigration reform bill should include:

• A path to legalization so that workers in the U.S. who have become important members of local communities and contributors to our economy have the opportunity to become legal;

• Enhancement of current screening systems for employees by allowing federal databases to share information to ensure their legal status through other practical changes and by providing practical steps to address true-identity theft;

• A viable expanded employment visa program;

• The necessary tools to secure our nation’s borders.

The bill suffered a setback, however, last night as senators from both parties were unsuccessful in advancing the package when a procedural vote to end debate and move to a final vote on the measure failed by a vote of 45 to 50. The bill was pulled from further consideration by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). Support for the comprehensive package is still strong, and supporters on both sides of the aisle indicated that the fate of the Senate bill was still politically viable.

Sen. Reid said that he hopes the bill can be brought back at a later date. “There's no reason to be upset. I think that we have to look toward passing this bill," he said. "It's something that needs to be done."

Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the White House, commented that the bill was far from dead and added that the administration was taking to heart the fact that both Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) indicated they would bring the matter back up for consideration. "The process has demonstrated that there is a strong bipartisan majority in the United States Senate that wants to see bipartisan, comprehensive reform," Stanzel said.

While it is unclear when this measure will be brought back to the Senate floor for consideration, AMI will continue to push Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

For a copy of the letter, click here: http://www.meatinstitute.org/StoryLinks/2007/ImmigrationBillLtr060807.pdf

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