Immigrant Farm Workers

WAMC/Pat Bradley

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says there are many economic benefits of common-sense immigration reform for New York.

Vilsack, who hosted a media conference call Wednesday, says the numbers are a cause for national concern. Maureen Torrey, former chair of the USDA Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee, is an 11th generation farmer in western New York.

Welch, Owens to offer dairy farmworker protections

Apr 9, 2013
wikipedia commons

Congressmen Peter Welch of Vermont and Bill Owens of New York plan to announce legislation that they say will help ensure a stable workforce for Vermont and New York dairy farmers.

Dairy farmers are ineligible for a federal agriculture visa program so many rely on immigrant farm workers who are in the country illegally.

Welch says with Congress set to start debating comprehensive immigrant reform, he and Owens will fight to get their bill or similar protections in any final reform package.

Some Vermont faith communities are adding their voice to the discussion about immigrant farm workers in Vermont.

The Vermont Ecumenical Council and Bible Society, which is made up of eight Christian denominations, released a statement on Monday at the Statehouse calling for "just and fair actions" regarding immigrants who work on many of the state's dairy farms.

The group says it has a moral imperative to treat one another with dignity and infinite respect.