Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack discussed proposed migrant farmworker programs during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The hearing was set to talk about an earned pathway to citizenship for migrant farmworkers.
Roll Call Dot Com says several Republicans on the committee said they won’t support such legislation without first improving security on the southern border.
South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham said, “You don’t give amnesty and hope people won’t keep coming. You secure the border, then you provide legal status. We’re doing it completely backward.”
In March, the House passed legislation that would allow migrant workers who had already worked a certain number of years to apply for legal status.
Vilsack defended the bill, saying he doesn’t believe its passage would cause an influx of immigrants at the border.
The debate over citizenship for migrant farmworkers comes soon after a federal judge ruled that the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is illegal.
The program was designed to protect certain undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.