Letter: Agriculture needs immigration reform

March 31, 2014 

Letter: Agriculture needs immigration reform

As U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings prepares to finish his congressional career, now is the time for him to lead the House toward real immigration reform.

When we talk about immigration reform in Central Washington, we're talking about agriculture. This major economy is the cultural signifier of Central Washington. Hastings points this out on his website: "Agriculture has been the backbone of Central Washington's way of life for generations, and is still the foundation of our economy today. From apples to wine, potatoes and asparagus, and beef and wheat -- our region is known for producing a wide variety of top-quality agricultural products that are enjoyed by consumers worldwide."

To ensure the longevity, sustainability and economic health, we need a modernized immigration system. A large number of agricultural organizations, farms and growers all across Central Washington recognize the importance of substantial immigration reform. The agricultural industry is reliant on immigrant labor; the reliability of a legal and stable work force would ensure its continued success for Washington families. Immigration reform can and should happen now.

GABRIEL PORTUGAL, Pasco

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