We are in many ways a divided nation and there’s perhaps no place that this divide is more evident than the halls of Congress.
The relationship between congressional Democrats and Republicans seems to border on fisticuffs at times and hope for any piece of legislation getting bipartisan support seems non-existent.
In this increasingly ugly political climate it’s difficult to find any topic more divisive these days than immigration.
President Trump’s much talked about wall could be the most divisive issue in our nation besides the impeachment proceedings currently underway regarding the commander-in-chief.
All of this is why an immigration-related bill sponsored by Idaho’s own Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho Falls, is so worthy of mention as well as praise.
The proposed Farm Workforce Modernization Act is the brainchild of Simpson and fellow Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, and Dan Newhouse, R-Washington. The legislation’s goal is to create a legal and regulated ag workforce here in the U.S.
If the bill becomes a reality, the days of America’s farm workforce being full of illegal aliens will likely be over.
The legislation will give foreign workers a way to legally work on U.S. farms and ranches as long as they can pass criminal background and Homeland Security checks. The bill also gives such individuals a path to U.S. citizenship after four to eight years of employment in America’s ag industry.
The bill will document the foreign workers on U.S. farms and ranches like never before and allow those individuals to legally remain part of our nation’s ag workforce as long as they don’t have criminal records or are perceived by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to be dangerous or pose some other type of threat to our nation.
With the bill’s very bipartisan passage in the U.S. House by a vote of 260-165, Simpson and his colleagues seem to have successfully navigated the extremely treacherous political waters that immigration issues have become.
Simpson said the bill means survival for Idaho’s ag industry, which relies on immigrant workers to exist.
The bill will also result in an ag workforce for Idaho and the rest of the nation that’s free of those immigrants who have committed crimes or pose some other sort of threat to our country.
The legislation essentially tells those in our nation illegally that if they will allow themselves to be documented as part of the Farm Workforce Modernization Act as well as follow our laws and stay out of trouble while working on our country’s farms and ranches, they can not only legally earn a living here, but they also have a path to full citizenship.
Simpson’s bill is a win-win and we strongly encourage the U.S. Senate and our president to not just support it but to use it as a catalyst to change the divisive level of discourse in Washington.
If there was more cooperation between Republicans and Democrats like what we’ve seen with Simpson’s bill, our nation would surely be a better place.
The fact that legislation like this has become almost unheard of should be a wake up call to all of us.
Bipartisanship can happen in Washington and we thank East Idaho’s congressman for proving that point.