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Immigration reform: Farm-worker compromise brings bill a step closer to Senate floor

Farmer and labor groups are voicing support for a deal on farm workers, but it’s just one piece of the complicated effort by both political parties to craft an immigration reform bill this year.

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A worker trims a Vidalia onion plant before planting its roots into the soil on a farm in Lyons, Ga. Immigration legislation aims to overhaul the nation’s agriculture worker program, which relies more on illegal workers than any other industry.

David Goldman/AP

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A bipartisan band of US Senators has reached agreement on one of the central controversies of immigration reform – treatment of farm workers who currently work in the country illegally.

The compromise would allow some 336,000 non-citizens to receive new “blue card” status that allows them to work on farms and move eventually toward citizenship.

Farmer and labor groups are voicing support for the deal, but it’s just one piece of the complicated effort by both political parties to craft an immigration reform bill this year.

 

“The farmers and workers have come together to back this consensus proposal is an achievement that only weeks ago didn’t seem possible,” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah said Friday as one of the Senate dealmakers.

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