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I was pleased to read the 26 page ‘framework’ submitted by Senate Democrats regarding the outlines of a comprehensive Immigration Reform package.  It is clear that this is an issue that must be addressed at the federal level, and soon, as the pressure to go down the unfortunate legal path Arizona has chosen becomes greater for other border states.

My opponent in the Washington 4th District race, Rep. Hastings, will, of course, be voting no, as will most of his Republican colleagues in Congress, and once again we will hear the dog whistle cries of “amnesty” and shouts of “close the borders”, but the framework as outlined is the best approach to this challenge.  As a nation, we have to find the proper balance between aggressively defending the security of our borders with a fair way of dealing with the 10 to 15 million undocumented workers currently in the U.S.

The basic proposal would first increase funding for border security, and allow undocumented workers currently in the U.S., after fines and back taxes are paid, an 8 year path to citizenship, coupled with a significant accommodation for guest workers which are so vital for our agricultural needs here in Central Washington.  The framework proposes a new secure SS card, and penalties on businesses who knowingly hire the undocumented.

The proposal is not written in strict legislative language, which leaves a lot of room for a healthy discussion and for the making of some important decisions by our Congressmen and women, as they prepare the measure to be voted on.

If Doc Hastings’ wasn’t so relentlessly partisan in every area of the national debate, he could be working constructively with the majority to ensure that an immigration reform bill will meet the needs of our agricultural community and ensure them the migrant work force they so desperately need. In fact, it would be nice to see Hastings get out and LEAD on ANY issue.  Sometimes it seems that Doc Hastings just doesn't want to WORK HARD on much of anything...he is one of the very, very few Congressmen who serves on only one committee, in his case the House Natural Resources committee.  

If you are only going to be on one committee, that's a good one--that committee is important to the needs of this district, and one that I hope to serve on as well when I am elected.  But if Mr. Hastings was serious about serving the needs of this district, he would be using his seniority to sit on one of the many other committees which are also important to this district: the Agriculture committee, the Energy committee, the Commerce committee, just to name a few.   Hastings, however, is apparently much too consumed looking after the interests of the Oil and Gas Lobby to be able to recognize the many different challenges facing our district. Strangely, Mr. Hastings has been totally silent on the issue of the Arizona law that has provoked such debate in the country.  

Could it be he doesn't wish to take a public position on the legislation?  Maybe over fear of a Tea Party backlash, or to offend the very large Hispanic-American vote in Central Washington? That would be political cowardice, but not surprising for him.

If he can swallow his desire to simply be in opposition to everything Democrats propose, he could provide the sorts of cooperation that could lead to a bi-partisan bill, but, sadly, I predict he will once again be doing the bidding of his party’s leadership, once again putting Ohio Representative, and minority leader, John Boehner’s interests ahead of the best interests of the people of the 4th District. Farmers and farmworkers should be demanding a public statement from his office on the issue, and I urge all voters to call his office today and ask him directly.

Originally posted to Clough4Congress on Mon May 03, 2010 at 01:27 PM PDT.

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