Imperial County backs comprehensive immigration reform, the Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday although a resolution of support is pending.
A resolution of support of comprehensive immigration reform is expected however, once a bill is available.
The board’s decisions followed County Executive Officer Ralph Cordova’s advice to hold passing a resolution of support until a reform bill is available.
“There is a comprehensive immigration reform bill that should be introduced by at least the Senate on Monday, April 8, (the) House bills is going to come, I think, on (April) 18,” said Cordova to the board.
He then recommended that those bills be reviewed by the county so comments can be passed on to U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Rep. Juan Vargas.
“The one thing that we do know,” Cordova continued, “is that the pieces being introduced include a guest worker program that’s been agreed to by labor and business.”
Cordova added that a reform bill is expected to address border security and a path citizenship.
Comprehensive immigration reform has been in the forefront of the Obama administration since the beginning of this year when President Barack Obama called for reform during his State of the Union address.
With health care reform behind him and gun control somewhat stalled, immigration reform and the momentum it enjoys could be Obama’s big policy success of the year.
But if reform comes to fruition, it will surely come with difficulty.
“There will be hearings on this, God knows that, and there probably won’t be a vote until July,” said Cordova.
And yet, Cordova wasn’t the only one commenting on the matter.
Supervisor Michael Kelley said he wanted to see immigration reform and noted that border security should include infrastructure improvements.
“Infrastructure means money, means commerce and the Valley needs it, all these borders need it and that’s just a big part of this (reform),” said Supervisor John Renison shortly after.
Supervisor Jack Terrazas commented on the letter of support and asked that any letter be kept simple with the focus on keeping pressure on the legislature.
“I think it’s still a danger that it (reform) might go away if we don’t continue to ask that they do something,” said Terrazas moments before Supervisor Ray Castillo called for what he described a letter of encouragement.
On immigration reform, “it’s not going to be an easy thing to pass,” said Castillo, “but I think that they (policy makers) need to be urged, especially from areas such as ours, to move forward with immigration reform.”
Illegal immigrants make up more than 12 percent of Imperial County’s population, according to a 2011 report by the Public Policy Institute of California.
That amounts to roughly 21,000 people.
Staff Writer Alejandro Dávila can be reached at 760-337-3445 or email@example.com