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News stories tagged with "farmworker"

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

Lawmakers push visas for dairy workers

Lawmakers on both sides of Lake Champlain say Congress is making progress on immigration reform. And they want to make sure the dairy industry is a part of it.

North Country Congressman Bill Owens and Vermont Congressman Peter Welch held a joint press conference in Burlington yesterday.  Go to full article

Aubertine defends farm labor bill hearing

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 consumers. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

Mexican farmworker fire investigation continues

An autopsy shows a Mexican farmworker on a St. Lawrence County dairy farm died of smoke inhalation. The man was found in the bedroom of a mobile home destroyed by fire. A frying pan left unattended on a stove sparked the blaze. According to the Watertown Daily Times, authorities still haven't identified the man or found his family in Mexico. Three other Mexican nationals escaped the fire. 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

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