Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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After New Study Confirms Economic Benefits of Immigration Reform, Representative Garamendi Again Calls for the House of Representatives to Take Action

August 1, 2013
Press Release

This morning, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack personally tells Garamendi that Reform is Vital for American Agriculture

WASHINGTON, DC – Representative John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) today highlighted a new report demonstrating the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform to families and businesses in California. The study demonstrates that comprehensive immigration reform will create jobs, expand the economy, and strengthen the economic security of hardworking Americans. Earlier this week, a study focused on the benefits for agriculture and rural America. This was reiterated by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in his remarks at a conference on BioMass where both he and Rep. Garamendi spoke this morning.

“We are a nation of immigrants and a state of pioneers. As this study shows, comprehensive immigration reform will strengthen California’s economy, create jobs, and help establish needed normalcy for our vital agricultural sector,” said Congressman Garamendi. “When we come back from the August recess, I hope the leadership in the House is ready to let us vote on a bipartisan compromise similar to what passed the Senate.”

According to the White House report, comprehensive immigration reform will spur California’s economy and create approximately 70,070 new jobs in 2014. This legislation would foster innovation and business growth, raise workers’ income, and increase state and local tax revenue. 36.6 percent of business owners in California are immigrants, and 38.3 percent of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates at California’s best universities are immigrants.

A separate White House report noted that in California, 73 percent of farmworkers are noncitizens, and many of them are working in the shadows. The report found that California especially suffers from agricultural labor shortfalls in the production of fruit and vegetables and in support activities such as farm labor contractors and crew leaders, soil preparation, and planting and cultivating. Under existing laws, if farms in California were suddenly denied access to all unauthorized workers, they would lose $1.7 billion to $3.1 billion in revenues due to lost production.

“If comprehensive immigration reform is derailed, it will continue to put California’s farms in a lose-lose situation. Too many farmers are stuck with the unenviable choice of hiring undocumented workers or seeing some of their fields go fallow. When Alabama passed a draconian anti-immigration bill, we saw the result: undocumented immigrants fled the state, prison labor began to be used, and crops withered on the vine. There’s a better path forward, and that path is comprehensive immigration reform,” Garamendi added.

These details come on the heels of another recent study that found immigration reform would be a boon to our nation’s GDP and economy as a whole, while expanding the country’s labor force, producing higher productivity and higher wages, reducing the deficit, and strengthening Social Security.

In June, a broad bipartisan coalition in the Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform by a vote of 68 to 32.  It’s time for the House to take up this or a similar bill and act to fix our broken immigration system.