MERRILL - Immigration reform might not be as big of an issue in rural areas as it is in bigger cities. But that isn't stopping Northwoods groups from making themselves heard.
Reform supporters throughout the country rallied and met at congressional offices around the country Saturday.
Today, two local groups made an "Immigration Pilgrimage" to Representative Sean Duffy's Wausau office. They met with the Congressman via teleconference from Washington.
Some issues they wanted to discuss are establishing a path to citizenship for undocumented people, and providing a legal path for low-skilled workers to immigrate where their work is needed.
"I think the primary thing that we're interested in doing is to get the House of Representatives to approach a comprehensive immigration reform, instead of the piecemeal approach that they have been taking," says Sister Pat Cormack.
Reform supporters say legislation shouldn't be only focused on security, it should also address issues that affect immigrants. One example is the difficulty some people face immigrating to the U.S.
"We have some very wonderful, competent doctors in this area who come from other countries. They're high skilled. There aren't the same kinds of barriers for them to come as there are for those low skilled workers who also provide services that we need," says Sister Pat.
Reform supporters say the approach the House has been taking is too security focused. They do think security is important, but want a broader scope.
The recently passed Senate Bill 744 is an example of what they'd like to see in the House. It's a bi-partisan proposal that includes provisions for both security, and help for people immigrating to the U.S.
RHINELANDER - Oneida County needs more foster care homes. Right now, there are nine licensed foster homes in the area, most of which are full according to the county's social services department.
Foster Care Coordinator Rachel Nelson says that in Oneida County there are 24 children currently living in foster homes. The department participated in a statewide foster care recruitment project last fall, and discovered just how great the need is.
RHINELANDER - A snow storm caught Hanson's Garden Village in Rhinelander off guard last weekend and collapsed a greenhouse. Now that spring weather is here, Hanson's is ready to move forward by making some adjustments. "We got by for 25 years doing what we were doing," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. Last weekend's spring snow storm set back Hanson's. "We thought we were ahead of schedule having that greenhouse nice and filled," said Hanson's Manager Beth Hanson.
"One bad storm and there you go. Things happen," said Brent. The storm collapsed a greenhouse holding thousands of plants. "For years we've gotten by with these lighter cheaper green houses," said Brent. "We'll be down a greenhouse for a little bit here," said Beth. Now Hanson's will only use sturdier and solid greenhouses so that collapses don't become a pattern.
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