New cries for immigration reform

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The issue of immigration reform has taken on added significance due to the arrest of a New York dairy producer for allegedly harboring illegal aliens.

On March 30, John Barney was arrested following the death of a migrant worker on his Henderson, N.Y., farm and the detention of eight other workers by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

According to a criminal complaint filed against Barney in U.S. District Court, the deceased worker suffered injuries to his head, neck and ribs, most likely sustained from a fall from a fence during dairying operations. A special agent with ICE says the death appears to be accidental in nature. ICE agents later determined that the deceased was a citizen of Guatemala and had illegally entered the United States. They interviewed other workers at the farm, and the workers allegedly stated that they, too, were citizens of Guatemala and were illegally in the U.S.

For more on that case, click here.

If meaningful immigration reform is going to occur, it needs to be this year because Congress will be reluctant to tackle any controversial issues in an election year in 2012.

That is the word from Jaime Castaneda, senior vice president for strategic initiatives at the National Milk Producers Federation.

Furthermore, Castaneda says the chances of anything passing will depend on how the issue is broached. If it’s about granting citizenship to immigrants already in this country, then the chances of anything passing is zero, he says. If, on the other hand, it’s about authorizing foreign workers to stay in this country on work permits, then the chances are better, he adds.

The key is to set up a system where immigrant dairy workers can come “out of the shadows” and register without worrying that someone will try to kick them out of the country, according to Castaneda. 

Dairy industry officials, realizing how important immigrant workers are to dairying operations in this country, have endorsed a measure that would authorize foreign dairy workers to remain in the U.S. for an initial period of three years, and give the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services the authority to approve a worker for an additional three-year period.

“It is time for leadership, not politics, on the issue of immigration in this great nation,” says dairy producer Marc Laribee, of Lowville, N.Y., located one county away from the farm that had the ICE activity. “The recent events surrounding a tragic event at a local agricultural business are evidence of a great need for a clear and unambiguous policy to be enacted and consistently enforced,” he says.

“The immigration policy of this nation is a complex and tangled web of laws and directives that are confusing and widely misunderstood. All too often, our immigration law is randomly and inconsistently enforced; often times, only as a show of government force or for the political gain of one side or the other.

“The people caught in the middle of this government malpractice are real. They are among the most hard-working and underappreciated people among us and deserve better treatment from those in positions of power who have been entrusted with the leadership of our nation,” Laribee says.  

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Christian in Austin    
Austin, TX  |  April, 06, 2011 at 02:04 PM

We need Comprehensive Immigration Reform! Study after study has shown that passing this law will provide a significant boost in the economy over the next ten years! It is time we do what is right for this country. The President needs to make good on his promise and pass what he said he will pass. I am a 32/white male Republican and I must admit us as Republicans have dropped the ball! TIME TO STEP UP AND COUNTINUE THE RICH TRADITION OF IMMIGRANTS IN OUR COUNTRY!

california  |  April, 06, 2011 at 03:12 PM

yeeaa deport all illegals!!! who work hard as dishwasher, gardener, labor workers, cooks housekeepers, farmers,caregivers,,white men can`t....they came here to feed their famlies w kids..they worked hard... if they pay taxes not commited any crime ,,, give them chances,,calling all politicians.

April, 06, 2011 at 03:30 PM

And are the milk producers going to sponsor their workers? You know--make sure they're paid 125% or more above the poverty line for whatever size families they have. Pay back taxes and SS for them. Provide healthcare, workers' comp, etc.? Make sure they don't become public charges? Somehow, I suspect not. Amnesties are as much for the employers of illegal aliens as they are the illegal aliens. And if an employer wants to be safe from being charged with employing illegal aliens, use eVerify even if your state doesn't require it.

Dora d    
April, 06, 2011 at 05:25 PM

This is the heart of the issue. The businesses get cheap labor and the taxpayer are stuck with the bill for healthcare, food stamps, education and incarceration. We have had enough of their cheap labor at our expense!

April, 06, 2011 at 03:32 PM

Utter bull, Christian. The only studies that report that are ones by those pushing amnesty. And the study your refer to showing amnesty would benefit the economy shows a very small effect spread over 10 years--and doesn't provide confidence intervals or significance levels for the results, which a REAL honest study would do.

April, 06, 2011 at 03:34 PM

Nonsense, ravel. Guess who's working right alongside illegal aliens at Chipotle, etc., when ICE does its audits. AMERICANS. Illegal aliens steal SS numbers for a reason--to pretend to be Americans to get work. As for "paying taxes"--no low wage illegal alien is going to pay more in taxes than he and his family use in services, not even one year of education for his kid.

Deport Em    
USA  |  April, 06, 2011 at 03:59 PM

....evidence of a great need for a clear and unambiguous policy to be enacted and consistently enforced,” We already have that...they are called immigration laws and they are NOT being consistently enforced. Every time they are, people whine and complain about it. There should be no question..your illegal, your gone! Mr. Barney should be jailed or heavily fined for having illegals working for him and for having lax safety measures if the guy got killed working for him. The employees who are illegal should be deported immediately! Make E-Verify mandatory for all businesses nationwide. The Feds must stop coddling the illegals and deport them as found. But as long as J Nappy continues to feed lies that our border is secure, and Oshama needs the Mexicans (legal or not) to vote for him they will continue to pander to the illegals and their racist advocates. Once Obama is voted out of office, maybe the new Prez will get tough and really enforce our immigration laws.

New York  |  April, 06, 2011 at 04:35 PM

ALI, what "Utter Bull, Christian" are you talking about. Do you realize this is a CHRISTIAN Country? You do by what we do and say, not your stupid ways. You should be in the Middle East if you wanna dictate to us. Why are you muslims here? Simply because you can't do as you please in your part of the world. Atleast have the nutsacks to admit, you get and have all the freedom you could ever possibly imagine.

Dora d    
CA  |  April, 06, 2011 at 05:21 PM

Not true! We cry for Immigration Enforcement and a cut in services that draw the illegals.

Florida  |  April, 06, 2011 at 05:58 PM

The reform should be passed a long time ago. We have 12 million people in this country without papers and many bully and discriminate against the people. They violate their human rights and forgot that our ancestors got here on the boats without invitation and often without papers as well. The law was much, much simpler back than! America is a country of immigrants and if we don't want any more illegal immigrants than we need to strengthen our borders and reform the broken immigration laws that produce illegal migrants. Discrimination, abuse, human rights violations and ruining families and peoples lives is simply unamerican and very wrong! We need the comprehensive reform, and we need it NOW!

Concerned Taxpayer    
New York  |  April, 06, 2011 at 06:15 PM

Here in Dutchess County NY, the Illegal wife claims her husband assaulted her. Then she gets the whole array of handouts from the government including housing. The husband then moves back in with her... The husband waves a 3 inch thick hand full of cash at the cashier as his wife swipes the government provided card at Stop & Shop to pay the over $300 food bill. They trot outside with their 3 kids in tow, with one more on the way, and get into a Brand New White King Cab Dually truck that the illegal husbands under the table money buys. You can here them proclaim "Ah, America is good" knowing that at any time their new baby will be born and an increased government handout is just around the corner. But you and I continue to be burdened with increased government debt, taxes and lower quality of life.... Is there something wrong with this picture?

U.S.  |  April, 06, 2011 at 07:35 PM

@Jim, Ali makes 100% sense. Didja ever wonder maybe Ali was short for Alison? What is not an assumption is that immigrants (the kind who have respectfully asked our country for permission to be here) do usually have sponsors who guarantee that they won't become a 'public charge' for at least 5 years. They have real SS numbers and genuine, U.S. supplied identification. Too much to ask?

New York  |  April, 07, 2011 at 09:08 AM

Willing to bet that some contributors here are right-wingers that google for articles on immigration and then spew negative comments. You have no experience trying to hire American workers to dependably do dirty, boring, menial jobs day after day. It has become too easy for some of our citizens to live reasonably well by "working the system" just as you claim immigrants do. During the depth of the recession the Farm Workers' Union offered farm jobs to unemployed Americans with the "Take Our Job" initiative. There were few takers and none that lasted. As our older workers have retired and our business has grown, we tried diligently for over 2 years to hire American. After being lied to and left short handed, even by some ag students at a nearby state college, we finally gave up, called our state labor department and got Hispanic milkers. Last year they were paid almost $28000 each plus benefits (mostly heat, utilities and satellite TV) costing us $1328 each as well as a decent place to live. Around here that's a good wage for anyone without more than a high school ed. We can't say enough good things about them. A local sawmill has had to go the same route after being named a local employer of the year for trying to improve the lot of their labor force. So to those of you who don't "get it", you really don't know what the real world is like.

illinois  |  April, 07, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Yes, immigrates need to be allow to get into the system, but it will never happen because Uncle Sam is making a killing collecting SS taxes they never will have to pay on.

78252  |  April, 07, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Lets get some kind of reform and mean while every one who hires an illegal comits a felony! And faces a one year maddatory prison term. Sam

MN  |  April, 07, 2011 at 08:59 PM

Dairy farmers should have determined the availability of labor BEFORE expanding or building in an area without sufficient labor. No excuse for sneaking in illegal immigrant labor on the premise that nobody else will do the job. Shouldn't have created the job if legal local labor wasn't available. I am a dairy farmer and have heard others speak of their illegal labor as if they are sub-human. These are 'pillar of the community' farmers. Very disturbing.

mich  |  April, 08, 2011 at 08:47 AM

The National Milk Producers does not speak for all dairy person on the immigration issue. The large dairies seem to think their opionion is what is best. If they wish to hire people from other countries to work for them have the immigrates come in to the United States the legal way and stop trying to skirt the law for their own monetary purposes. We as small dairy owners try to employ area resident which in turn benfit our economy not some other country. The money our employee earn are spent in our community not sent home to a foreign country. The National Milk Producers need to speak for all dairy producers not the large mega dairies

Concerned Taxpayer    
NY  |  April, 08, 2011 at 05:29 PM

"Whether or not illegal aliens are doing jobs Americans won’t do, they’re certainly getting benefits Americans don’t get. This is the finding of a Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report stating that a whopping 70 percent of illegal-immigrant households with children receive handouts via a government program. The rate for immigrant households with children overall (both legal and illegal) is 57 percent, versus only 39 percent for such native households." Send the illegals home and take care of Americans.

Tom Powlin    
Fresno, CA.  |  April, 09, 2011 at 08:02 AM

He broke the law if he employeed illegal aliens. He get caught and now he whine?

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