Valley Farmer calls on Boehner to step down

FRESNO, California

This year's bid for reform got off to a strong start with republicans seeking wider support after losing in the presidential election. But the stance taken by Boehner drew a strong reaction from Manuel Cunha of the Nisei Farmers League.

Cunha said, "My recommendation for the speaker of the house is that he needs to step down because he's failed. He's failed the immigration bill. He's failed this country in dealing with issues which impact us greatly."

Supporters of immigration reform weren't surprised but they were disappointed.

Luis Ojeda of the California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance said, "They were dragging their feet. There was a lot of talk about it but there wasn't a lot of action happening so to us it was pretty much expected."

Agriculture is the valley's biggest industry. It has long relied on undocumented workers to grow and harvest crops. But politicians continue to spar over issues like border security and a pathway to citizenship.

Republican Congressman David Valadao of Hanford said the opportunity was there to move immigration reform forward.

Valadao said, "For me I'm obviously frustrated but we're going to continue to push. There are still a lot of us talking and trying to work together to build a coalition of members."

Supporters of immigration reform vow to focus on their next window of opportunity, which they hope comes next year.

California Grape & Tree Fruit League president Barry Bedwell said, "I think there is growing recognition particularly among republican members of the need for immigration reform. We know the system is broken. We know it's not sustainable."

Bedwell added a piecemeal approach is not ideal but it may be the only realistic way to reach the goal.

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