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Hudson Valley News

Immigration Bill Supporters Rally Outside NY Congressman's District Office

Volunteers for Organizing for Action

Supporters of the comprehensive immigration bill recently passed in the U.S. Senate stood outside the district office of a New York Congressman Monday, urging him to follow suit in the House.

About two dozen supporters stood outside Republican Congressman Chris Gibson’s Kingston district office, pressing him to listen to their voices and join in the fight to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Gibson was elsewhere in his district at the time.

That’s Ed Kinkade, volunteer lead of the Hudson Valley Chapter of Organizing for Action, a non-profit group that supports President Obama’s agenda. The Senate last week passed the “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act.” Those gathered at the rally in Kingston noted that Congressman Gibson is known to reach across the aisle and, at times, vote against the party line. President of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation Paul Ellis-Graham says he hopes immigration reform is one of these times.

In an e-mailed statement, Gibson says he appreciates the time people took to register their views in Kingston. He adds that, listening to farmers and his constituents, it is clear that agricultural labor - and the immigration system in general - is broken and in need of reform.  Steve Ammerman, who was not part of the rally, is spokesman for the New York Farm Bureau.

Congressman Gibson says he will continue to review the about 1,200--page Senate bill and listen to his constituents for input. The legislation includes increasing security at the borders and establishing a pathway to earned citizenship for some 11 million undocumented immigrants. Gibson says in the House they are looking at working on a series of four smaller bills, broken into specific issues, which he thinks could be a better way to proceed. Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation Beth Soto disagrees.

The Farm Bureau’s Ammerman says the guest worker program in the Senate version is important. Gibson also supports a guest worker program, saying that the lack of a stable work force is an issue consistently raised by New York farmers. Here’s Ammerman.

Organizing for Action’s Ed Kinkade closed the rally with the following.

Congressman Gibson says there need to be serious policy reforms, including a means to enforce the ultimate agreement.

Audio of the rally was provided by Organizing for Action.

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