POLITICAL INSIDER: Immigration Fix Starts with Ag

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A familiar face has been spotted recently on Capitol Hill.

Former Congressman George Radanovich of Mariposa has been working the halls of Congress pushing immigration reform that would benefit American farmers and consumers.

After serving 16 years representing California's 19th District, Radanovich is now the President of the California Fresh Fruit Association, a non-profit group that works on behalf of various fruit and citrus growers, packers, and shippers in the Golden State.
Radanovich also restarted his vineyard and winery business in Mariposa.

Lately, he's focused his thoughts and energy on protecting an immigrant workforce and the important role they play in the production of the country's food supply.

Radanovich has been talking about this issue with members of Congress and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and he hopes to get an ear at the White House.
He's been pushing a strategy that he believes, could end illegal immigration and protect the domestic food supply.

Radanovich wrote about it for an op-ed in The Hill back in January, saying "This can happen only by strengthening border security, implementing E-verify (an electronic employment verification system), allowing foreign workers to come and go with the season, and permitting those who are otherwise law-abiding to continue their contribution in food production".

The "Bracero Program" with Mexico handled the labor needs of growers until it was terminated in the 1960's.
Radanovich believes another such labor treaty is needed and President Trump is key in negotiating an agreement with foreign countries because Congress has failed miserably on immigration, but he also has faith that lawmakers could strengthen border security as the President acts.

Radanovich thinks starting with the agricultural labor could bring about the comprehensive immigration reform desperately needed in the U.S.

Congress is currently considering several immigration bills with the best known being the Securing America's Future Act (SAFA).

LINK: Read the Securing America's Future Act

The bill introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, would end chain migration, authorize President Trump's wall, provide temporary legal status for nearly 800,000 DACA participants, and more.

However, there's no companion piece of legislation in the Senate and there's no guarantee any bill would win 60 votes in the upper chamber for passage.

Valley Congressmen David Valadao and Jeff Denham are also pushing a combination of bills and a process that could at the very least, finally initiate a debate on the House floor.

RELATED: Valley Republican congressmen pushing for action on immigration

Radanovich doesn't hold much hope for these measures especially in a mid-term election year.
He's hoping his ideas and path to end illegal immigration and protecting the food supply will finally catch fire.

As he wrote in the op-ed for The Hill: "Now is the time to take a fresh approach to immigration reform, starting with agricultural labor".
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