Labor: Still Number One Issue
Monday, March 18th 2013
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The membership of the California Grape and Tree Fruit League recently were surveyed on the issues of most importance to them in 2013 and it was no surprise to see that the top three spots were once again labor related.
After holding down the number two spot for a couple of years, the challenge of immigration reform once again rose to number one. Much of this attention has to do with the results of the 2012 election, both in California and nationally, where approximately 70% of Latino voters supported Democratic candidates as an apparent indication of their dissatisfaction with Republican statements such as bringing up the suggestion of “self-deportation”.
The GOP has belatedly realized that the future of the party must address changing demographics and a changing America when it comes to such issues as immigration reform. With the emergence of new young leaders like Senator Marco Rubio from Florida, Republicans have signaled a willingness to adjust their formally hard stance on issues such as a pathway to citizenship and tackling reform as a whole instead of piecemeal. With these dynamics in place, many experts are viewing 2013 as a year that holds the greatest promise for meaningful comprehensive reform.
However, the view in the House of Representatives remains cloudier with many conservatives holding out on “principle” on the issues of citizenship and a blanket approach. Whether this group can effectively prevent reform from happening is yet to be seen but one fact is known for sure; the continuing trend of a tightening workforce will not be reversed by inaction and ultimately there will be severe losses in American agricultural production if action is not taken. The League will continue to do all it can with groups such as the Agricultural Coalition for Immigration reform (ACIR) and the Agricultural Workforce Coalition (AWC) to push for needed reform while the opportunity exists.
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