Immigration Bill May Blow Up Over Ag Workers

Comprehensive immigration bill may not include revisions to ag visa program.

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Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is one of the bipartisan group of senators working on immigration reform. The current program that administers agricultural visas is steeped in bureaucracy, growers say.

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The other disagreement is over how many workers should be allowed to enter the country. Growers argue they don't know exactly how many workers they will need because after 11 million immigrants come out of the shadows, they are not sure who will stay in agriculture and who will pursue other employment.

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An idea that has been floated is one similar to what the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO worked out to cap the number of visas given at 200,000 each year, but growers say that may not be enough.

"We want the number [of workers] we need in order to plant, grow and harvest our crops and we don't know what that is yet," a spokesman from the Western Grower's Association says.

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