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Latino Daily News

Friday November 26, 2010

CHC Divided on Combining DREAM Act and AgJOBS when Immigration Reform comes to the Floor

Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus need to decide what their priorities are for the lame duck session.
CHC Leaders are in agreement to press for a vote on the DREAM Act. Leaders are currently lobbying out going Democrats for their support and have sealed the support of the White House and Congressional Democratic Leaders. The conflict arises is on where to stop the legislative push.

Some members of the CHC insist that now is the time to push for support of the AgJOBS bill. AgJOBS would grant legal status to up to 1 million illegal immigrant farm workers.

CHC members Raul Grijálva (D-Ariz.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), Ciro Rodriguez (D-Texas) and Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas) are among the more than two dozen lawmakers who called on House Democratic leaders on Monday to pair AgJOBS with the DREAM Act when it comes to the floor. CHC Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) did not sign the letter.

“While we continue to believe many components of our immigration laws need reform, we agree that some intermediate solution could be helpful. We strongly believe that any such intermediate solution must contain AgJOBS,” they wrote in their letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.).

Action on both the DREAM Act and AgJOBS will ultimately depend on Senate support. Majority leader Harry Reid has said that the DREAM Act is one of his top priorities for the lame-duck session, while his aides confirm they are not aware of any intent to link the two measures.