7.10.2007

New York farmers confront feds on migrants

Farmers confront feds on migrants: Dairymen, growers learn that warrants aren't required for raids (by Diana Louise Carter, Rochester D&C - 7.10.07)

Farmers learned in Livingston County Monday that law enforcement officials can come onto their farms without a warrant in their efforts to catch illegal immigrants.

About 60 farmers and farm agency representatives met at York Town Hall to hear from federal officials about how immigration laws affect them. Many local farmers depend on foreign laborers to milk their cows, prune their vines, and perhaps most significantly, harvest their fruits and vegetables.

Livingston County Sheriff John M. York organized the meeting after recent immigration arrests in Livingston County upset local farmers.

Dale P. Stein, a Le Roy, Genesee County, dairy farmer, said he learned more about warrants from the meeting.

"We were all (thinking) they had to have a search warrant," he said of fellow farmers.

Federal immigration officials said they sometimes arrive with an arrest warrant for a specific laborer, but if they have probable cause to believe laws are being broken, they can raid a farm without a warrant.

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