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By The Californian
BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Valley growers joined the United Farm Workers union Wednesday in delivering what they said were nearly 8,000 pro-immigration-reform postcards and letters to the Bakersfield offices of Congressman Kevin McCarthy.
A UFW news release said the letters were signed and collected within the past two weeks, and that most came from the Central Valley.
The event was part of a continuing campaign by immigrant advocates to pressure McCarthy -- the third-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives -- to push for a vote on a reform bill passed in June by the U.S. Senate.
"As Majority Whip and California's most powerful Republican, Congressman McCarthy not only has the power but a duty to represent one of California's leading industries," UFW Vice President Armando Elenes said in the release.
McCarthy has said he supports changing the nation's "broken" immigration system but that any modifications need to be done step-by-step and must be accompanied by efforts to secure the border.
While many Central Valley growers have supported some form of immigration reform as a way of securing an ample and dependable workforce, they have generally avoided UFW events, turning instead to trade groups and lobbyists.
But on Wednesday the UFW was accompanied to McCarthy's office by Manuel Cunha Jr., president of the Nisei Farmers League, which represents growers.
Also, the UFW said one of the letters delivered Wednesday was from Allied Grape Growers, a 500-member growers group.
A UFW spokeswoman said California growers are continuing to gather signed letters, and that those will be delivered later.