Immigration: Building Northern New York’s Economy and Communities

Whether members of our universities and colleges, healthcare workers at local hospitals, military service members, or employees on area farms, immigrants are important community members of Northern New York. Tedra Cobb will fight to ensure that our immigrant neighbors and visitors receive fair treatment and are protected and valued as an important part of our community.

Rather than making our communities safer, criminalization of immigrants feeds the mass incarceration industry, wastes money, and destroys families and the fabric of the community. Tedra supports the disentanglement of police and immigration authorities so that the resources of local governments are spent on issues of local policing, rather than federal immigration enforcement.

NCPR reports, “Trump’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants could cost New York’s economy billions of dollars.” Farms will be most impacted by these policies, with a potential 1,080 farms going out of business if current deportation policies continue. Simply put, the economy of the North Country depends on immigrant labor.

Immigrants in Northern New York communities often work physically-demanding jobs, such as dairy farming. Tedra supports immigration policies that recognize immigrants as members of our communities, including the following actions :

  • establishing a REAL ID compliant, two-tier driver’s license system
  • providing basic labor rights (e.g., the right to organization, rest, overtime pay, and disability pay)
  • implementing existing Federal and state laws regarding language access, such as ensuring limited English speaking residents have a medical interpreter during clinical and hospital visits  

In addition to agriculture, many immigrants contribute to our district’s educational and health institutions. Federal programs, such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), have brought motivated individuals to our communities, who enroll in local colleges and universities or serve as healthcare workers in our rural communities. Many immigrants also serve directly in the US military or have acted as aides and interpreters for our military in foreign conflicts. Tedra will always stand against visa policies that would prevent these immigrants from entering the country and becoming our neighbors, and she supports Congressional efforts to codify DACA into law.

The heart of this issue is a human one. For example, ending DACA closes the door on the only life many young people have ever known. Children brought to the United States by their parents seeking a better life deserve the opportunity to earn an education in the only place they know as home. Immigrant workers deserve to be able to do their work safely and voluntarily for fair wages, without fear that they will be forced to leave their communities. Tedra will fight for immigration policies that strengthen our communities and Northern New York’s economy.

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