immigration reform

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

As Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus) is finishing up his first month representing the residents of the 24th Congressional District, he says he’s getting used to the pace and the politics of the nation’s capital.

Katko, joins a Congress that has the largest Republican majority since the 1930s.  And he admits that getting all the factions of the GOP to work together as one can be a challenge.

Katko named to chair a House subcommittee

Jan 5, 2015
Ryan Delaney / WRVO file photo

Rep.-elect John Katko has been appointed to become chairman of a subcommittee in the House of Representatives.

The Syracuse-area Republican will officially be sworn in tomorrow along with the rest of the freshman class of lawmakers. But not every newcomer to Congress gets to become a chairman.

Katko was already named to the House Homeland Security Committee, and now has been named the head of its Subcommittee on Transportation Security. The committee focuses on safety of passenger and baggage screening, surface transportation and transportation security regulations.

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Support organizations that work with immigrant farm workers are trying to understand how President Barack Obama's executive action affects people in upstate New York.

"We've won a small victory but we really have a huge fight in front of us," said Carly Fox, an organizer with the Worker Justice Center of New York. She describes her reaction to Obama's announcement as bittersweet.

Fox works with many individuals who won't qualify for deportation relief, and it turns out, that's not uncommon.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

The central New York agriculture community got a chance to get the ear of Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) this week, highlighting several areas where action by the federal government could help farmers and food processors do their jobs.

Topic number one on the agriculture agenda is to urge Congress to pass the Farm Bill, that’s been languishing in Congress for two years. Bill Byrne of Byrne Dairy is optimistic as lawmakers seem to be reaching consensus on the dairy policy in the Farm Bill, one of the big sticking points.

Matt Richmond / WSKG

As lawmakers in the Senate's Judiciary Committee debate the immigration reform bill released last month, farmers in New York State are hoping to find enough workers to fully staff their operations. It's a yearly struggle in New York and nationwide and according to a report by Farm Credit East, more than 1000 farms in New York could close or shrink by two-thirds if immigration laws were fully enforced.

Sarah Harris/Innovation Trail

Dairy farms in northern New York and Vermont have faced a major labor shortage, which means that migrant laborers from Mexico and Guatemala are now milking many of the region's cows. But farm country here is not an easy place to be a migrant worker: It's rural, hard to get around, and there's not a big Latino population. But a new law means that migrant workers in Vermont will soon be able to drive legally.

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Small businesses from around the state took their concerns to legislators in Albany Wednesday. The message from leaders in the agricultural industry particularly highlighted the need for reforms to support small farms, and boost local economies upstate.

Ellen Abbott/WRVO

Several local community organizations have joined forces to create the Central New York Coalition for Immigration Reform.  This group will push a comprehensive immigration reform agenda, with an emphasis towards towards family unity, an improved visa system, and a path to eventual citizenship for undocumented immigrants living in this country now. It's the only hope one undocumented immigrant who lives in Syracuse has of staying in this country.

Maffei answers questions on immigration, gun control

Feb 1, 2013

At a news conference in Auburn, central New York Cong. Dan Maffei commented on a couple of hot-button issues facing Congress currently.

Utica-area Rep. Richard Hanna is one Republican who expects to be on board with any immigration reform that is being proposed in Washington currently. The 22nd Congressional District representative says it's an important issue in a region where agriculture is key.

Hanna says he's heard about the labor crisis facing the dairy industry ever since he came into office. Farmers tell him they can't find enough documented employees to work the farm.

New legislation would allow 55,000 thousand green cards to be earmarked for foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math has made it through the House of Representatives. But the bill still has an uphill battle ahead.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

Local immigration reform advocates are pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. One of the loudest voices comes from a man who is in this country illegally.

Aly Wane was born in Senegal in 1976 and, because of a family dispute, came to live in this country in 1984. He went on to high school and college, but because of his family situation he was never naturalized.