ANLA Expresses Disappointment At Immigration Bill Failure

July 5, 2007 - 12:34

The American Nursery & Landscape Association (ANLA) expressed deep disappointment at the Senate’s failure to advance S.1639, the comprehensive immigration bill. The bill stalled after a critical procedural vote failed 53-46. According to the ANLA, the Senate’s failure cast doubt on whether or how a truly comprehensive bill might be able to regain traction in Congress.

“This is a loss for the green industry, but most importantly, the American people,” said Craig Regelbrugge, vice president of government relations for ANLA. Regelbrugge added, “the bill had provisions dealing with virtually everyone’s concerns — tough border security with up-front mandatory funding; benchmarks that would need to be met before certain other programs would be initiated; a new system to bring credibility to employment eligibility verification; expanded legal channels for temporary workers to enter, work and leave; and a realistic approach to addressing the status of an estimated 5 percent of the American workforce, laboring here without proper work authorization.”

Yet, the bill was long, detailed, and complicated, leading opponents to mischaracterize and mislead the American public about what the bill would actually do. Indeed, ANLA received numerous calls from green industry members with concerns about the bill. However, Regelbrugge noted that when the true content was discussed and explained, concern shifted to active support. “That’s not what they are saying on the radio…” was a common reaction.
“One thing is certain, this pressing issue will not go away, and Congress must be held accountable to working across party lines to get it done,” emphasized Shirley Peckosh, a garden center operator who serves as chair of ANLA’s legislative policy committee.

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