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Schumer: Immigration bill helps Northeast farmers

By Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Senator Charles Schumer says farmers, especially in the dairy industry, will find it easier to secure a reliable labor force under sweeping changes to the nation's immigration laws proposed in an 844-page bipartisan bill.

Schumer says the bill, filed at 2 a.m. Wednesday, creates a new visa program that will allow farmers to hire year-round workers and end reliance on illegal laborers.

Delegations of upstate New York farmers have traveled to Washington to lobby for an expansion of the guest-worker program for agriculture. Right now, dairy farms are ineligible for the temporary visa program, which is only for seasonal workers. Dairy farms need workers year-round.

Schumer says the bill will also ease the labor shortage for northeastern apple and vegetable growers.

The bill is sparking intense debate on Capitol Hill.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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