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New York Farmers Want Immigration, Visa Reforms For Workers' Status

Jersey cows at Silver Spring Farm in Syracuse. TOM MAGNARELLI / WRVO NEWS (FILE PHOTO)
Jersey cows at Silver Spring Farm in Syracuse. TOM MAGNARELLI / WRVO NEWS (FILE PHOTO)

ITHACA, NY (WSKG) - The New York Farm Bureau has announced their federal policy priorities on Wednesday. Immigration is top leading issues they want Congress to address.

The Bureau stated that the increase in ICE raids is a growing concern for New York farmers. They know it faces challenges.

"The biggest issue when it comes to talking about immigration is for the current workforce and giving them some kind of status," said Lauren Williams, Associate Director of National Affairs.

"Some of the rhetoric along those lines is are we giving people immunity or providing them the ability to work here when they came here, came, you know, didn’t come across legally."

They also want to see changes to the H2A guest worker visa program. Right now the program allows for temporary stays to work in the United States. The farmer organization wants changes to the visa program to help all farms not just those that have seasonal needs.

"These reforms should allow for current, trained workers to stay on farms," said David Fisher, a dairy farmer and president of the state’s Farm Bureau board, "and maintain a consistent workforce to plant and harvest crops and care for livestock."

He says each year New York farms are becoming more reliant on immigrant workers.

The organization also says trade and infrastructure are among their federal priorities this year.