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New York farmers see chilling effect of ICE raids ⋆ Epeak . Independent news and blogs

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My colleague Robert Downen reports in Thursday’s Times Union on the impact that recent Immigrations and Customs Enforcement sweeps are having on New York’s farming economy. From his report:

New York farmers fear that anti-immigrant fervor has had a chilling effect on immigrants who often work the low-paying, labor-intenstive agricultural jobs shunned by native-born Americans. Anxiety has worsened, farmers say, as Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agents conduct sweeping raids targeting undocumented workers across the country, including one in the Hudson Valley region last week.

“ICE raids have been an ongoing concern for farmers and their migrant employees for many years. With the added attention on enforcement from the Trump administration, those concerns are certainly heightened,” New York Farm Bureau spokesman Steve Ammerman wrote in an email Monday. “While we recognize that border security is essential, an enforcement-only approach to immigration issues in this country will leave farms with a diminished workforce and will lead to more food being imported into the U.S.”

In New York, where more than 900 temporary H-2A work visas were issued to farm workers last year, farmers in the state’s $3.5 billion agriculture sector fear they’ll be unable to fill vital positions at a time when Americans are turning away from farm work.

“Latino workers have become a part of our agricultural economy,” said Thomas Maloney, who researches agricultural labor at Cornell University. “With each generation we get further from a farm economy, so there’s less people in our population that have had any kind of farm experience.” Disrupting the state’s flow of documented and undocumented workers “would have economic consequences,” he said, estimating the latter account for at least half of all national farm labor.

To read the full TU Plus version of this story, click here.



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