California farmers say they need to hire immigrants, many here illegally, to help harvest labor-intensive crops such as strawberries.
Drought may be withering their crops, but farmers in California and beyond say they face as great a threat far from home: inaction on immigration reform.
House Republicans are balking at immigration legislation, but agriculture’s biggest lobbying group said reform can't wait.
The American Farm Bureau Federation released a report Monday predicting what would happen over the next five years if Congress did not offer legal status to farm workers and instead focused on deporting them – a path supported by Tea Party members and other conservatives.
"The agricultural industry alone would lose $30 to $60 billion in agricultural output if Congress choose to do an enforcement-only approach," said Kristi Boswell, who directs congressional relations for the Farm Bureau.
The organization projects that food prices would go up during the same period - by as much as a 6 percent. Boswell said there would be less help for harvesting crops, meaning more produce would have to be imported.
Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC
Mario Avila, left, and Eduardo Estrada hold up a banner memorializing Guatemala's wartime "desaparecidos," people who disappeared during the country's 36-year civil war. They and others were planning to caravan to the Riverside sentencing of accused Guatemalan war criminal Jorge Sosa, who was convicted on immigration fraud charges and faces eventual deportation.
Update: Ex-Guatemalan soldier sentenced to prison for lying
A federal judge in Riverside has sentenced accused Guatemalan war criminal Jorge Sosa to 10 years in prison on charges that he lied when applying for his U.S. citizenship, procuring it illegally.
DOJ spokesman Thom Mrozek confirmed that Sosa, a former Moreno Valley martial arts instructor, had his U.S. citizenship revoked by the judge. This makes him deportable once his sentence is complete, said Mrozek, adding that Sosa would likely be removed via extradition.
"Guatemala has made a formal extradition request," Mrozek said. "They have filed charges against him and they say they want to prosecute him. When it's time to release him from prison, we will go through the extradition process."
Mrozek said it's likely that Sosa will serve about eight years from this point in federal prison, since he's been in U.S. custody for some time already.
Inside the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in downtown Los Angeles. Some family members of U.S. citizens awaiting visas are waiting longer as the agency deals with additional paperwork, following the start of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in 2012.
Program Benefiting Some Immigrants Extends Visa Wait for Others - New York Times Some immigrants waiting to arrive in the U.S. on family visas, including spouses and children of citizens, are facing longer waits as immigration officials struggle with additional paperwork. From the story: "The long waits came when the agency, Citizenship and Immigration Services, shifted attention and resources to a program President Obama started in 2012 to give deportation deferrals to young undocumented immigrants, according to administration officials and official data."
US easing immigration rule for terrorist support - Washington Post Federal officials now say that people who are believed to have provided “limited material support” to groups deemed terrorist organization no longer face an automatic bar from the country. The change eases the rules for immigrants arriving as refugees or seeking asylum; it allows U.S. officials more latitude in determine the extent of support as part of an immigrant's background.
Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, addresses Asian-American Republicans at the Grace Ministries church in Fullerton.
The Grace Ministries complex, spread over 26 acres in Fullerton, is where some 6,000 Korean-Americans worship.
But on a recent weekday, the turnout was much smaller. Just 70 people gathered in the church's fellowship hall as Sharon Day, co-chair of the Republican National Committee, made a passionate pitch.
“We’re committed to tell you why the Republican party is the Asian party — why that’s where you should be,” Day said.
Surveys show Asian-Americans have made the biggest pivot away from the Republican party of any ethnic group in recent years. And now the GOP is doing its best to woo them back.
The RNC has hired three California-based staffers to reach out to Asian-American voters and support Asian-Americans candidates. Two other staffers in Washington work solely on Asian-American issues.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio said Thursday that it's unlikely there will be enough cooperation among lawmakers for an immigration overhaul to pass this year, a week after he and fellow House Republicans unveiled their template for immigration reform.
Boehner Doubts Immigration Bill Will Pass in 2014 - New York Times Although the House GOP presented a template for immigration reform last week, Republican House Speaker John Boehner admitted Thursday that it's unlikely there will be enough cooperation between political parties to pass reform this year: "The American people, including many of my members, don’t trust that the reform that we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be.”
White House faces revolt on deportation policy - Politico From the story: "Already facing a mutiny from the left over the administration’s continued deportation of undocumented immigrants, the White House is trying to assure immigration reform advocates that President Barack Obama still supports a path to citizenship — a key part of any liberal-backed immigration plan."