February 24, 2005

Illegal Immigration

Marcia Franklin has a conversation with two Hispanic leaders about the costs and benefits of illegal immigrants. Humberto Fuentes, a board member of the Farmworker Justice Fund and former director of the Idaho Migrant Council, debates Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez, who recently declared his county a "disaster area" due to the costs of providing health care and incarceration for some illegal immigrants.

The Idaho Senate Health and Welfare Committee recently killed a bill that would have capped the amount of money counties have to spend on health care for indigent illegal immigrants. But supporters vow to come back with another proposal, saying the issue is costing counties millions of dollars. Opponents of the legislation say illegal immigrants pay taxes and take jobs that others would not do, so they should receive some benefits.

On a national level, Senators Larry Craig and Edward Kennedy recently introduced the Agricultural Job Opportunity, Benefits and Security Act of 2005, known as "AgJOBS," to address some concerns surrounding illegal farmworkers.