Douglas stresses importance of immigration reform bill

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(Host) Governor Jim Douglas says he feels it’s very important for Congress to pass an immigration reform bill this year.

The U.S. Senate this month is debating a comprehensive reform bill that would allow illegal workers, who are currently in the United States, to remain here if they register for a temporary workers visa and pay a fine.

Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Douglas says it’s critical for Congress to address this issue:

(Douglas) “I really think they need to pass a law these people are breaking the law and we need to enforce all laws in our country as well as we do in our state but there’s an economic reality a practicality to it that has to be recognized as well and I think it’s incumbent upon the Congress to take a step similar to what they’ve been talking about.”

(Host) Douglas says he supports a moderate approach to immigration that includes a path to citizenship for illegal workers:

(Douglas) “I don’t know what the right step is. It may be a fine and admission of their step that is contrary to our laws and then some kind of a path toward lawful status here. But I think that makes sense. I really believe that’s the course that’s in the nation’s best interest.”

(Host) It’s estimated that there are approximately 2000 illegal workers employed in Vermont’s dairy industry. Douglas says it would be impractical to require these workers to return to Mexico before allowing them to legally work in Vermont.

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