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News stories tagged with "latino-farm"

Hispanic men and women - some of them quite young - provide labor illegally on many dairy farms. Photo: David Sommerstein
Hispanic men and women - some of them quite young - provide labor illegally on many dairy farms. Photo: David Sommerstein

Dairy farmers and Hispanic workers in legal limbo

The U.S. Senate passed its version of immigration reform Thursday. But the bill's future in the House is highly uncertain. Many conservatives oppose citizenship for those who are in the country illegally.

Others want to take up immigration reform piece by piece, rather than attempt a comprehensive bill like the Senate's.

With Congress wrestling with a new strategy for immigration policy, we thought it would be a good time to review the legal situation on many New York and Vermont dairy farms.

Several thousand undocumented immigrants, mostly Latino, work on those farms. They pay social security and other federal taxes because they give their employers false social security numbers when they're hired.

Farmers are not required to prove their workers are legal. In fact, they can be sued for discrimination if they challenge them.

In 2006, David Sommerstein explored this Catch-22. Here's a part of that story.  Go to full article
How many kids in the school have family working in the US?
How many kids in the school have family working in the US?

Farm to Farm, Family to Family, part 1: North Country farmers go to Mexico

In January, David Sommerstein traveled with a group of New York dairy farmers on a sort of reverse migration. They went to a tiny mountain town in Veracruz, Mexico, called Malacatepec. There, almost everyone has a family member who has worked or is working on a New York State dairy farm. The farmers wanted to better understand their new employees culture, economic situation, and what it all means for the immigration debate in this country. Here part one of a three part series. One note: the dairy farmers in this series are identified only by their first names to protect their farms and the Mexican immigrants who work there.  Go to full article

New Yorkers' views on immigration

The Pew Hispanic Center estimates between 550,000 and 650,000 illegal immigrants live in New York State. Most live in New York City and its suburbs. But a growing number work in agriculture or construction in Upstate New York, including on the North Country's dairy farms. Immigrants have become a part of daily life in largely white, rural communities. Max Pfeffer tracks what New Yorkers think about immigration, both legal and illegal. He's a professor of development sociology at Cornell University. For the last several years, Pfeffer's conducted polls asking whether there should be more or less immigration to the United States. He told David Sommerstein the results are much like the rest of the country: people are split.  Go to full article

Dairy left out of immigration deal?

As the fierce debate on a massive immigration bill continues in Washington, dairy farmers fear they may be left out. New York's dairy farms have become increasingly reliant on Mexican and Central American workers. Many, if not most, of them are in this country illegally. A temporary worker program, known as H2A, would allow immigrants to work on farms for two years at a time, for up to six years. But it still remains to be seen whether dairy farmers would be allowed to use the program. Julie Suarez directs public policy for the New York Farm Bureau. She told David Sommerstein dairy was included in one version, but left out of another.  Go to full article

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