The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Breaking News

April 9, 2013

Tentative farm workers deal in immigration talks

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

But the uncertainty of that structure sparked concern on both sides, and talks between growers and agriculture reopened. There now have been numbers set for wages and where to cap visa levels that the United Farm Workers has agreed to, officials said, although details weren't immediately available Tuesday. But growers emphasized they had yet to sign off.

"We are working diligently on the final details on the important details of the wage and cap and are hopeful, but have not agreed to anything," said Kristi Boswell, director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Even in absence of a formal OK from the growers side, Feinstein suggested that the senators were satisfied and would be moving forward with what they've settled on.

"We hope we can get their acquiescence and support, otherwise we just need to proceed ahead," she said.

Meanwhile there were indications that the immigration debate, largely confined to behind-the-scenes negotiations so far, was moving into a more public phase.

Pro-immigrant groups planned rallies around the country and outside the Capitol for Wednesday.

And there was back-and-forth among GOP-leaning groups over the expected cost of a bill, with a conservative think tank, the American Action Forum, releasing a report Tuesday arguing that immigration reform would grow the economy and reduce the deficit, partly because of growth in the labor force. That stood in contrast to a report by the Heritage Foundation released during the last immigration debate in 2007, and expected to be revived again this year, that contended the legislation cost taxpayers $2.6 trillion.

The dispute was more evidence of a split in the GOP, with some favoring comprehensive immigration legislation, and others still strongly opposed.

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