President Obama To Talk Immigration Reform In East Lansing

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

East Lansing (WILX)-- President Barack Obama is expected to discuss the need for immigration reform with farmers from all over the state on Friday, according to the Michigan Farm Bureau.

"These farmers will take any opportunity they can to discuss immigration reform," said Ryan Findlay with the Farm Bureau.

It's a big issue for Michigan because farmers here hire more than 48,000 seasonal workers every year, more than every other state except California.

"There isn't a way if a farm is struggling in the summer or fall to bring in foreign workers in a convenient manner that provides appropriate protection," said Findlay.

Farmers want an easier hiring process, and workers are asking for more protection.

"The system right now is broken."

"Families that are part of the american dream are not getting the legal recognition they deserve," said Father Fred Thelen with the Cristo Rey Church in Lansing.

Father Thelen has seen first hand the need for immigration reform in his own congregation.

"We have a lot of families that have suffered from deportation, separation and it's awful. People here are working hard and not getting their fair share of benefits."

Republican leaders in the U.S. House last week released a framework for an approach to immigration policy, although some are skeptical it will pass this year.

But with the president planning to address the issue in person, it brings hope that change will come soon.

"The fact that we are still having this conversation in an election year is great. We definitely want to see reform in 2014," said Findlay.


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