NEWBY PRAISES SENATE IMMIGRATION BILL
MONTGOMERY, Ala, May 25, 2006 -- Alabama Farmers Federation President Jerry A. Newby praised the U.S. Senate's passage today of an immigration bill that protects America's borders.
"The independence of America's food supply was given a strong boost by the U.S. Senate today with passage of a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration law," Newby said. "With the legislation facing tough debate in a House-Senate conference committee, the Alabama Farmers Federation continues its call for the strongest possible border security measures and a viable, legal guest worker program."
The Senate voted 62-36 for the bipartisan bill that couples border security and enforcement with a guest worker program that would provide a process for those already working in this country to earn U.S. citizenship. The Senate legislation has to be merged with a vastly different House bill that calls for tough border security and enforcement measures but does not include a provision for guest workers.
"We are heartened that a majority of senators agreed with President Bush's plan, which includes a legal temporary worker program," Newby added. "Without such a program, as much as $63 million in Alabama farm production could be lost, resulting in a drop in net farm income of as much as $35 million. The impact nationally would be in the billions of dollars.
"Strong, national security absolutely requires safeguarding our borders, but it also means providing farmers with the tools they need to grow America's food and fiber. We've already seen what happens when we become dependent on foreign-produced energy. We must not let the same thing happen with our food supply."
Newby said the Alabama Farmers Federation, which is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, will work with other agriculture groups and Members of Congress to continue to improve the legislation in the House-Senate conference committee.