Vice President Joe Biden has a knack for saying or doing the unexpected. True to form, the vice president paid a surprise visit to a neighborhood coffee shop in a northwest Denver neighborhood on Tuesday. There, a group of local pastors, law enforcement officials and local business owners were expecting to meet with a ‘senior White House official’ on the issue of immigration reform – not the VP himself. It wasn’t until shortly before the meeting that the group realized with whom they would be sharing their thoughts. Included in the group was Robert Sakata of Sakata Farms, Inc., one of WG’s national members from Colorado.
“I was one of a small group of eight who met with Vice President Biden for two hours on Tuesday,” said Mr. Sakata. “We each had something to say about immigration reform. I told him of the difficulty I am having hiring workers. Usually by this time of year, I have 50 applicants, but so far, I have only heard from four people. It’s quite a problem for us,“ Sakata lamented. “The vice president asked us to reach out to others to let them know how important reform is to us and encourage more support for action in Congress, and I certainly intend to do that, with the help of Western Growers,” he added.
Indeed, Sakata has been doing just that having traveled with members of the Western Growers’ Board of Directors to lobby for immigration reform on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. last week.
Biden was accompanied by U.S. Senator Mark Udall and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock. According to a Denver Post article, the vice president said the "vast majority of the American people" support immigration reform. He also added, "Now is the time to act. The one request I have is keep up the drum beat on these guys."
Western Growers is continuing the push for action on immigration reform -- especially as the critical House August recess deadline approaches on July 31. One method will commence today – the distribution of a Daily Immigration Reform House of Representatives Action Report. The “report,” which will be sent out via social media, email and in Spotlight, is meant to keep the issue ‘top of mind’ by counting down the days the House has to act before it adjourns for its August recess. It will report on any House floor activity on immigration reform, which to date, has been zero.
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