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Immigration law

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The debate about long overdue immigration reform winds to a close providing a ray of hope that the 11 million family members who do not have the necessary papers to live here today will be welcomed to America.

Negotiations pulse back and forth between big business, little business, labor unions and politicians of all persuasions. That is all done on the evening news, cable television and in newspapers. North country farmers anxiously await a decision which will relieve them from the terrible pressure they are under to find legal workers to milk their herds.

However, the action deep in the background in the halls of Congress provides the actual proof of the necessity that we reform our immigration system. So far various senators have added language that will allow 20,000 more visas be issued to meat cutters and trimmers or will welcome foreign ski instructors to find work on the ski slopes of the Rockies or provisions which would allow foreign workers to help clean up after hurricanes. Also amendments allow more immigrants to enter the country to repair cruise ships and other transportation equipment. Highly skilled electricians working in the construction industry will have an easier path to citizenship.

And 10,500 Irish high school graduates will be able to come to America and contribute to our economy thanks to a provision promoted by Sen. Charles Schumer.

All these legislative additions to the immigration reform bill prove that the country needs a new law. These provisions are not designed to benefit anyone other than to allow industries in the country crying out for skilled workers to add diligent men and women to their employment rosters.

America’s record as immigrant friendly has allowed our country to prosper. The debacle of the last 20 years, when we have tried to fence out hungry workers seeking a better life and willing to do work that Americans have shunned, has stunted the economy.

We need to welcome immigrants willing to make a contribution to our society. It is a pity that we have to accomplish this in the darkened halls of Congress as political deals, rather than adopting a new law that does not require an exemption or special legislative legerdemain to let a north country farmer pay high wages to someone ready to work.

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