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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho agribusiness, Hispanic Chamber call for Congress to pass immigration reforms

A day ahead of the president’s speech tonight on executive action on immigration, Milk Producers of Idaho President Brent Olmstead and Ivan Castillo, president of the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, held a press conference in Boise to call on Idaho’s congressional delegation to pass “meaningful immigration reform in Congress as soon as possible.” Olmstead said as Republicans take control of both houses of Congress, “Now is the time for them to live up to promises they made in the election and fix the broken immigration system.”

Castillo said, “When you give people the opportunity to come out of the shadows, you give people the opportunity to help this country.” The event was coordinated with the Partnership for a New American Economy, which ran a special section in the Washington Times yesterday featuring conservatives calling for immigration reform, and sponsored events around the country, including one in Washington, D.C. led by Americans for Tax Reform CEO Grover Norquist.

The Boise Weekly, in its report here on the Boise event, reported that Olmstead said there are permits available for an additional 40,000 head of cattle across the state that aren't being used because of a labor shortage. He called for reforms including a guest worker program, enhanced border security, work permits renewable in the United States through employers, English language learning and an increase in the number of visas available to highly educated or skilled immigrants. You can read the group's statement here. Olmstead said, "There's a visa to bring a ballerina into this country, but there isn't a visa to work on agricultural supply."

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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