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  1. #1
    FireFighterMD's Avatar
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    Ny losing fruit/ vegetable supplies

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    IMMIGRATION RAIDS: Local farmers reeling from busts
    BY MIRANDA VAGG / vaggm@gnnewspaper.com
    Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

    Crops are rotting as a consequence of recent immigration raids in Orleans, Niagara, Monroe and Genesee counties.

    “I’m probably going to end up leaving $2 million worth of crop in the field and it’s adding up every day,” said Maureen Torrey, who owns Torrey Farms, located in Orleans, Niagara and Genesee counties.

    Local farmers are up in arms over the raids, with many feeling threatened and fearful of their own government.

    Torrey likened her recent experience with immigration officials to war.

    “It’s a dirty job and we stand next to them, working together, and then to see these people chased, you feel like it’s Germany all over again,” she said.

    Watching those she works with every day get taken away is like having a death in the family, Torrey added.

    “Immigration has been going into places of business without warrants and taking people, so people were leaving the area and moving to places where they felt safer,” she said.

    Early Wednesday morning, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, through the Department of Homeland Security, barged into Niagara County homes owned by Torrey Farms and caused about $500 in damage, breaking down a door and ultimately trashing the area, Torrey said. Immigration officials could not be reached for comment.

    “We have such a large number of people working in this area doing construction and farming,” she said. “But immigration seems to be targeting agriculture.”

    ICE has gotten increased funding from Congress, but Congress will not pass a guest worker bill, Torrey said. For the last 11 years she has been steadfast in her work to get the bill passed.

    “Just from what I heard on the news, it’s just crazy,” said Jeff Baker of Baker Farms in Ransomville. “They’re killing all of us, (ICE) is.”

    After the raid at Torrey Farms, word spread through Latin American work camps like wildfire and workers fled their homes, Baker said. Farms that previously had enough workers to harvest crops for the rest of the growing season, now are left with little help in the fields.

    Torrey said September began with a 50 percent shortage in labor on fruit and vegetable farms in the area. Other farmers were significantly affected by the labor deficiency as well.

    “We had 16 guys and the next day we had none,” Baker said.

    Robin Roberts’ farm, Lynn-ette & Sons in Kent, went from having 117 workers down to a mere 31. His crops are based on a crew of 100 workers.

    After having farmed land in Orleans County for 35 years, “this year has been a year from hell,” ******* said.

    There are substantial labor problems for most farmers in the area, but many tend to solve that issue by taking on migrant workers, according to Baker.

    “It makes a lot more sense to import workers than to import food,” Torrey said.

    Torrey said she was raided once before, in 1997. The workers at Torrey Farms are referred to her by the NYS Department of Labor.

    With migrant workers being taken from farms, thousands of bushels of apples at Baker Farms and much of Roberts’ squash and cabbage crop are going to go to waste.

    According to a financial report to be released later this week, Western New York will lose more than $300 million in farming revenue this year because of the amount of unharvested crop.

    In a normal season, Baker is able to bring in close to $140 per bin full of apples. His return this year will be significantly lower because half the crop is on the ground in the orchard.

    “A lot of these people come to us and as we look at the paperwork we believe they’re legal,” ******* said. “If (ICE) has a warrant or something for a person, we ask them to come to us and we will get that individual, but instead they go in and take everyone.”

    ******* and other local growers have requested a meeting with Attorney General Eliot Spitzer to discuss the reasons why the government is targeting agriculture workers.

    “We’ve had to deal with weather and now Immigration,” ******* said.

    With bad weather and random invasions by ICE, farms throughout the region are feeling the repercussions.

    “We’re racing against weather now,” Torrey said. “There’s been a lot of stuff left in the field.”

    Contact Miranda Vagg at (585) 798-1400, Ext. 2225.

  2. #2
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    another article

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Aggressive enforcement of U.S. immigration laws is hurting farmers in New York state, who stand to lose $195 million over the next 2 years unless Congress creates "reasonable and effective farm worker programs," agricultural lenders said on Wednesday.

    The Farm Credit Associations of New York said dairy, fruit and vegetable production in the state suffered due to raids seeking illegal workers. It was the first estimate of losses since Congress deadlocked on immigration reform this year.
    "In some cases, farmers have been unable to harvest or market crops as a result of these disruptions," the lenders said in a statement supporting immigration-law reform.
    "If this continues, we conservatively estimate that New York state will lose in excess of 900 farms, $195 million in value of agricultural production and over 200,000 acres in production in agriculture over the next 24 months."
    Dairy and other farms would account for the largest losses, 522 farms and $144 million in output, they said. Once out of production, the lenders said, the 200,000 acres of land was not likely to return to farm use.
    Three farmer-owned cooperatives comprise the Farm Credit Association of New York. Together, they have 8,500 members and more than $1 billion in loans.
    "When Congress returns from its recess, it is critical ... that comprehensive immigration reform with appropriate farm worker provisions be adopted," the lenders said. They called for "reasonable and effective" farm worker programs.
    The U.S. Senate approved comprehensive immigration legislation that would have created a guest worker program backed by President George W. Bush. It also would have given some of the estimate 12 million illegal immigrants a chance to become U.S. citizens.
    The House of Representatives enacted legislation focusing only on border control and enforcement.
    The two sides were unable to compromise on a single bill and it appears unlikely final legislation will emerge from a session planned after the November 7 congressional elections.
    Up to 70 percent of U.S. farm workers, or some 500,000 people, are undocumented, by most estimates.
    John Young, co-chair of the Agriculture Coalition for Immigration Reform, said reform was needed so the sector could "obtain a legal, stable and reliable labor force."
    A study this year by the American Farm Bureau federation estimated U.S. agriculture could lose up to $9 billion a year if there were no guest worker program.
    ACIR supports a plan that would allow workers to qualify for temporary status to be in the United States by showing a significant amount of work in agriculture in the previous 2 years. They could move to permanent status after an additional 3 to 5 years of farm work.
    Under the so-called AgJobs plan, workers also would have to pay a fine to qualify for legal status and pay taxes during the transition to legal status.
    Bush told reporters on Wednesday "a temporary worker plan, to me, makes sense."

  3. #3
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    ...

    How about getting able bodies bums off of welfare, and make them work for their checks? Who do you think was picking those vegies in 30's, 40's, and 50's. No sane nation that wants to survive keep their border wide open. just take a look at our neighbors to the North and South. Mexico protects it's Southern boarder with some elite military units. So is Canada. You could not stay,or even enter Canada without having a sponsor. That would be either an employer, or a garant relative who makes enough $$$ mulah-shmulah to keep you afloat, if you couldn't. They would also look for the most qualified, and educated individuals, who can contribute something to their economy, and society. There is a huge difference between orderly, legal immigration, and an outright invasion by foreign nationals. I know it b/c I'm an immigrant myself. I've been living here for the past 17 years, hold two professional licenses, and pay in taxes what some ppl don't even make as their income. i'm not saying it to brag about, just as a point. my half brother from my mom's first marriage was denied entrance to U.S just to visit his (and mine) elderly, and totally blind mom 3 times by U.S Embassy Well...you get the point. They give no explanations, just flat out "No". What can I do? I respect the law of the Land. I'm U.S citizen and pledge my alligence to the one and only flag of the good ole' USA. And I don't teach my half-brother to crawl in here in the darkness, or jump over the fence.
    Last edited by billydoc; 10-12-2006 at 10:40 PM. Reason: My English still sucks, but at least I'm trying

  4. #4
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    Well,
    If you don't want your crops to rot, don't hire ILLEGAL immigrants. Hire ones with green cards.

    Edit: I have ABSOLUTELY NO SYMPATHY FOR THESE FARMERS. THEY ARE GETTING WHAT THEY DESERVE.
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    not that easy

    Its very difficult to find " legal " people to do these jobs . I read several articles in which owners complained that no american is even thinking of doing this kind of labor

    its a tough choice . Mayor Bloomberg himself said it - these folks should be legalized .. hes also on record as saying if they were blond hair , blue eyes , americans wouldnt have so much of aproblem

    face it - without " illegals " , our economy will suffer

    this is not the 30's and 40's .. its an era where americans have " evolved " their expectations in the workforce . d o u HONESTLY think that " legal " americans will do these jobs ? ..

    they should have the guest worker program for these folks . Bush is in favor of it . I think everyone wins by having illegals working in the us .. the " illegals " ( is any human illegal ) ? .. can make money and feed their families and we can keep our production rolling

    but sadly , it may be a race thing also ... thats what bloomberg says

  6. #6
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    a study

    A study this year by the American Farm Bureau federation estimated U.S. agriculture could lose up to $9 billion a year if there were no guest worker program

  7. #7
    orthonut's Avatar
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    It certainly isn't hard for us to find legal workers. We have never had a problem. That is an old, tired line that is worn out.

    WE DO NOT NEED ILLEGAL WORKERS. That is a MYTH.
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    worn out ?

    I don't think so buddy

    I have been around long enough to know that no " legal " is going to slave in the fields all day or do any of the other " menial " jobs that the " illegals " are happy doing .

    face it - the economy will lose big time without them
    Bush knows this and thats why he's in favor of the guest worker program

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireFighterMD View Post
    I don't think so buddy

    I have been around long enough to know that no " legal " is going to slave in the fields all day or do any of the other " menial " jobs that the " illegals " are happy doing .

    face it - the economy will lose big time without them
    Bush knows this and thats why he's in favor of the guest worker program

    plus rich people want to hire cheap labor - no benefits, low wages...a republican's wet dream.
    but remember that, even when those who move you be kings or men of power, your soul is in your keeping alone. When you stand before God you cannot say "but I was told by others to do thus" or that "virtue was not convenient at the time." This will not suffice. Remember that.

  10. #10
    YODA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireFighterMD View Post
    I don't think so buddy

    I have been around long enough to know that no " legal " is going to slave in the fields all day or do any of the other " menial " jobs that the " illegals " are happy doing .

    face it - the economy will lose big time without them
    Bush knows this and thats why he's in favor of the guest worker program
    funny back in high school and college i worked construction and worked weekends on a friends farm. and as far as i know i am "legal"

    so i guess that your reasoning is incorrect. its not the job thats bad its the attitude of our co-citizens that manual labor is below them
    Where am I going and why am I in this handbasket...

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