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News stories tagged with "latinofarm"

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand "evolves" for bigger stage

Coming off a whirlwind tour of New York State, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is scrambling to get settled in to her new job. Her spokeswoman, Rachel Mceneny, says a transition that usually takes three months is happening on the fly. Senator Gillibrand made sure to sit down with Hispanic lawmakers in New York City over the weekend. They were outraged by her conservative stances on immigration when she was Congresswoman. Gillibrand has already done an about-face on some of those issues. Immigrant groups are cautiously optimistic. Conservatives in her old district are taking a wait-and-see attitude. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Childstock farms relies on immigrant labor, and the H2A program, to harvest its greens.
Childstock farms relies on immigrant labor, and the H2A program, to harvest its greens.

Mexican farmworkers on the right side of the law

With the presidential race and the financial crisis, the issue of immigration has faded from the headlines. But the problem hasn't gone away. Farmers rely on foreign laborers to harvest their crops and milk their cows. Millions work on farms illegally. We've reported extensively on Mexicans and Central Americans working on North Country dairy farms without legal papers. Today we look at a federal program that allows farmers to hire foreign labor legally. Orchards in the Champlain Valley have hired foreign pickers for years. But dairy farms aren't eligible, at least, not yet. So in the North Country, just one crop farm uses the program. David Sommerstein reports from Childstock Farms in Franklin County.  Go to full article

ESL classes in demand in North Country

Literacy of Northern New York is seeking volunteers to teach English as a second language classes. The not-for-profit is trying to keep up with a growing number of military and academic spouses and farmworkers who want to learn English in Jefferson, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties. Deborah Tate runs the organization's ESL program. She told David Sommerstein the students come from all over the world.

You can volunteer to be a tutor by calling 782-4270 in Jefferson and Lewis counties, and 265-0194 in St. Lawrence county.  Go to full article

License plan dead, but immigrants keep driving

Political pressure and a public backlash forced Governor Spitzer to scrap his plan to grant drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. But that doesn't mean, of course, that hundreds of thousands of immigrants in the state have stopped driving. Few illegal immigrants working on farms in the North Country drive because of the strong presence of the border patrol. But a couple hours south, in the Finger Lakes region, driving without a license is daily life for many Latino farmworkers. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

State to count Hispanic farmworkers

The state agriculture department is trying to figure out how many Hispanic immigrants work on New York farms. The agency wants to persuade the federal government to act on immigration issues. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Feds detain 5 from Hopkinton farm

The U.S. Border Patrol detained five illegal immigrants earlier this month in St. Lawrence County. Border patrol agents, state police, and local police officers chased the workers through the woods, aided by a helicopter's searchlight. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Judge halts immigrant worker crackdown

A federal judge in San Francisco has ordered the Bush Administration to delay indefinitely a crackdown on undocumented immigrants. Dairy farmers in the North Country feared new rules on verifying social security numbers would wreak havoc with their workers. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Ag chief sounds off on farmworker crackdown

It's become common knowledge that thousands of workers on New York's farms, most from Latin America, are in this country illegally. They work on the books by presenting fake social security cards. The farmer is not obligated to--and has been legally precluded from--verifying the document. New York agriculture officials have been largely silent on this arrangement since latinos began arriving on farms here in the 1980s and '90s. That changed this month when Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker wrote a letter to President Bush. He complained about a new federal crackdown on undocumented workers. It would punish farmers if their workers' social security numbers cannot be proven valid within 90 days. David Sommerstein spoke with Commissioner Hooker about the new policy.  Go to full article
Lowville veterinarian Mark Thomas at the school in Malacapetec.
Lowville veterinarian Mark Thomas at the school in Malacapetec.

Farm to Farm, Family to Family, part 3: the view from Lewis County

This week, we've been hearing the stories of a group of New York dairy farmers. In January, they traveled to a tiny mountain town in Mexico, where many of their milkers and farmhands come from. They wanted to better understand why their employees come thousands of miles to New York for work, and what that means for the immigration debate. Yesterday, we heard young Mexican men saying they wanted to work in the United States to make money. But eventually, they planned to return to their homes in Mexico. Immigration statistics tell a different story - the longer immigrants live in the United States, the more they want to stay here. In part three of a three part series, David Sommerstein looks at how Hispanic immigrants are affecting rural communities in New York and what the future may hold.  Go to full article
Above: Older houses in Malacatepec, below: new house built with wages earned on North Country dairy farms
Above: Older houses in Malacatepec, below: new house built with wages earned on North Country dairy farms

Farm to Farm, Family to Family, pt. 2: the cycle of migration

As Congress continues to craft ways to control immigration into the United States, the reality is that the allure of good paying jobs and a chance to improve one's conditions back home is hard to resist. In January, David Sommerstein traveled to Mexico with a group of New York dairy farmers. They went to a mountain town called Malacatepec, where names like Lowville, Carthage, and Utica are as familiar as they are here. Young men migrate South to North, leaving families behind, so they may one day come home to stay. In part two of a three-part series, David looks at their cycle of migration. One note: the dairy farmers in this series are identified by first name only to protect their farms and the Mexican immigrants who work there.  Go to full article

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