MEDFORD, Ore. — A Southern Oregon group representing Hispanic immigrants says immigration reform on the table is a step in the right direction.
NewsWatch 12’s Sharon Ko spoke with UNETE, an organization representing farm workers and immigrants in Southern Oregon. The program coordinator Kathy Keesee says the current proposal is more comprehensive and focused than previous plans.
Keesee said UNETE believes the current legislation will make illegal immigrants accountable to earn their citizenship, unlike older plans, which have traditionally focused on more enforcement and border security measures. The program coordinator explained much of Oregon’s economy is based on agriculture, hospitality and tourism. These areas depend on immigrant workers.
“I think that that’s really pretty much the backbone of state of Oregon right now,” said Keesee. “So, without immigrant workers, and especially agriculture without skilled laborers, it could really economically be disastrous for the state.”
Keesee adds immigrant workers are willing to do manual labor jobs that may not pay as well or may be more physically difficult. Supporters of this immigration reform are planning to provide a bill to the Senate in March hoping it will get passed by this summer.