Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, called for a “balanced approach” to immigration reform today during a trip to the U.S.-Mexico-border.
During a conference call from San Diego, McNerney said law-makers need to forge a bipartisan plan that gives weight to both border security and farmers reliant upon migrant labor.
“Border security is certainly a big part of the solution but we need to be able to (supply) workers where needed,” he said. “We have farmers who have (had cases of) produce rotting on trees, and we need to make sure they have the workers they need.”
To that end, he said there needs to be a legal way for workers to enter the country. He also said some status should be assigned to people already in the country.
He also voiced need for a border that keeps out terrorists and curbs human smuggling and drug traffic. He noted the methamphetamine problem in the Central Valley, which law enforcement say is fueled by imported raw materials.
He and Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., arrived at the U.S.-Mexico border Sunday for a two-day, fact-finding trip on border operations along a 66-mile stretch along the San Diego area known for illegal immigration and drug traffic. McNerney said wanted to get first-hand experience at the border and talk to law enforcement officials there.
The congressmen toured the San Ysidro Port of Entry, met with border officials and surveyed border technology Sunday. Today, they are scheduled to tour immigration and customs enforcement facilities before leaving this afternoon.