Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bennet calls for streamlining visa program for immigrant workers

Senator Michael Bennet says Colorado farmers are struggling to find enough seasonal workers to keep their land in production. The Senator's calls for streamlining the federal H-2A visa program for immigrant workers is part of a package of campaign pledges billed as his Rural Economy Plan.

Bennet unveiled his package of rural proposals during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. The measures include calls to extend federal guaranteed loans for some ranchers and farmers hit hard by the credit crunch.

On that call, Bennet also said farmers in particular can't find enough workers due to a cumbersome visa system that forces immigrants to leave, and reapply for jobs and visas each season.

"Just like any business person, our folks want predictability that they're going to be able to hire people that are here lawfully, without going through the current set of rules and regulations that in their judgment are forcing people to avoid the law, rather than comply with the law," Bennet said.

Owen Loftus, spokesman for Bennet's opponent Ken Buck, says the Republican agrees the H-2A visa program should be streamlined. But the two differ on it being a priority.

"The first thing that we need to do is secure the border, and that's something that Michael Bennet has refused to do," Loftus said.    More -

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