Plattsburgh, NY, Sep 13, 2010 — North Country apple growers say it's been a good season, but they had to fight U.S. Immigration officials to harvest their crop. For decades, orchards in northern New York have relied on experienced workers from Jamaica. Many of these laborers make the trip from the Caribbean several times a year to prune trees, tend them throughout the season and pick the fruit.
Debbie Everett is part of the family that has owned and run the Everett Orchards, near Plattsburgh, since the Revolutionary War. She says problems getting H2A visas for farm workers delayed apple picking even as the fruit was ripe, ready and nearly falling from the trees:
"The remainder of our workers just came in Tuesday," she said. "It was pretty touch and go there. But they are here. That's the good news."
As Jonathan Brown reports, an apparent misunderstanding by U.S. Immigration officials nearly prevented the Jamaican workers from making their harvest trip to the North Country. Go to full article
Plattsburgh, NY, Aug 10, 2010 — Congressman Bill Owens says he supports a guest worker program for farms. And he thinks it should be separated from the broader debate over immigration. The Democrat from Plattsburgh toured North Country farms last week, hearing from farmers that the federal government's H2A work visa program is slow and bureaucratic. Dairy farmers, who need year-round workers, not seasonal ones, can't even use the program. Owens believes the Ag Jobs bill needs to be separated from more contentious issues, like Arizona's immigration law and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. As a part of our series, Story 2.0, we'll hear from Malone vegetable farmer Ralph Child about why the H2A program is a hassle. Go to full article
Aug 05, 2010 — The New York Farm Bureau says its members are relieved at a last minute state Senate "no" vote on a bill that would have granted certain labor rights to farm workers.
Farm Bureau President Dean Norton says the bill would have had a devastating effect on farms and the rural economy. The bill was defeated 31-28 in the Senate. The Assembly has passed many versions of the bill over the years, but it has yet to pass the Senate.
The bill was a sticking point as budget negotiations stalled this spring. And it came into play again in the political gamesmanship Tuesday.
Sen. Pedro Espada, a Bronx Democrat, had refused to come to Albany unless the farm workers rights legislation was brought to the floor. Sen. Darrell Aubertine, Democrat from Cape Vincent and chairmen of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, "that was the majority leader flexing his political muscle," and it didn't work. Martha Foley has more. Go to full article
Jul 29, 2010 — Canada and the Netherlands forged deep ties over the past century. Members of the Dutch Royal Family took refuge in Ottawa during the Second World War, and it was largely... Go to full article
Burlington, VT, Jul 01, 2010 — Last December, Jose Obeth Santiz Cruz of Mexico was killed when his shirt got caught in a machine on a Vermont dairy farm. The incident renewed concerns over Hispanic... Go to full article
Alexandria Bay, NY, May 06, 2010 — Alexandria Bay businessman Matt Doheny came into the race for the 23rd Congressional district with a liability. His main competition for the Republican primary, Douglas... Go to full article
Albany, NY, May 04, 2010 — Governor David Paterson says he's creating a new panel to review the cases of immigrants facing deportation because of previous criminal convictions. As Karen DeWitt reports,... Go to full article
Albany, NY, Apr 21, 2010 — The Senate Agriculture committee voted down a highly polarizing farm labor bill Tuesday. Six of nine senators voted against the legislation, including committee chairman and... Go to full article
Cape Vincent, NY, Mar 16, 2010 — The New York State Senate is considering a controversial measure that would give more legal rights to New York farm workers. The bill would allow farm laborers to unionize... Go to full article
Albany, NY, Mar 03, 2010 — Senator Darrel Aubertine says he believes a farmworker rights' bill can pass the Senate. But the North Country Democrat says it has to protect farmworkers, farmers, and... Go to full article