Despite the lingering effects of hurricanes Harvey and Irma the economy is relatively strong. --

Factory orders rose 1.2 percent last month as new cars were purchased to replace the ones destroyed in Florida and Texas. Without the new rides, the rate rose 0.4 percent.

Even with the two disasters putting thousands out of work, Labor Department data shows nearly 147,000 jobs were added last month.   

And the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent – the lowest in more than 15 years.--

The problem of attracting and keeping farm labor has been an issue for decades. Potential solutions include the most recent Republican idea to create H2C visas specifically for agricultural workers. 

However, the Obama-era policy of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals – or DACA - is on the clock. The matter is centered on the children of undocumented workers brought into the U.S. when they entered the country illegally. With time running out, DACA was on the Capitol Hill docket this week.

Paul Yeager reports.

The Senate Judiciary Leadership convened two panels to discuss what could impact 800,000 DACA recipients in order to address one of President Trump’s requests.   

Michael Dougherty, Assistant Secretary,  Border Immigration And Trade Policy, Office Of Strategy, Policy, And Plans, Department Of Homeland Security: “He’d also (*in focus now) like Congress to look at other improvements that could be made for border security, interior security, and to allow the department to do what it can to protect the interest of the American worker.”  

Currently, 14,000 of all DACA recipients - about 2 percent of the total - work in farming, fishing and forestry.

The president campaigned on building a wall. The issue is center to his core constituency which also wants the American taxpayer to be relieved of any costs associated with illegal immigrants.  A repeat of the Reagan-era action granting amnesty is a non-starter for his base as well as the chair of the committee.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa: “Any potential deal on DACA has to include robust border security, and by that, I don’t mean a wall. Of course, tactical infrastructure like fencing is a part of the answer, but border security is more than that.”

Sen. Al Franken, D- Minnesota: “It’s a disgrace to our national values and moral principals, ending DACA without providing a legislative replacement risks pulling the rug out from underneath the investment the Dreamers have made in their futures, in our country.”

Also on the table are federal requests for improvements to employment policy.

Among those is the implementation of E-Verify – a program aimed at comparing worker provided information with government held records to determine employment eligibility. Pew Research estimates 8 million undocumented workers are employed in the U. S., but not all blame falls to those illegally seeking work. One study says the use of E-Verify would cut the problem in half.

Jessica Vaughan, Director of Policy Studies, Center For Immigration Studies: “As long as we fail to address the attraction of the job market here and the fact employers are bypassing legal workers, and can get away with illegal hiring, that just creates incentive for people to come here. I don’t think we ever will solve the border problem and the visa overstay problem unless we adopt E-Verify and address illegal employment.”

For Market to Market, I’m Paul Yeager.