This award-winning series by reporter Heather Swanson and photographer Spencer Tulis looks at life in the Finger Lakes for migrant workers and their families.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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For a DREAM Act kid, life after high school becomes a bit more complicated than it does for the average graduate.

  • Heather Swanson hswanson@fltimes.com
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GENEVA - As a private institution, Hobart and William Smith Colleges can set its own policies when it comes to accepting students who are in t…

  • Heather Swanson / Finger Lakes Times
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H-2A workers harvest cabbage this summer at Hansen Farms.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Dr. John "Lory" Ghertner is an advocate for immigrants who works with Migrant Support Services of Wayne County.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Yessica gestures during her interview with the Times.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Yessica, 18, a local high school graduate, is trying to find a way to pay for college. She can't seek financial assistance because she isn't a…

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Yessica cries as she talks about seeing her father wearing an orange jail jump suit in court.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Peter Mares — born Pedro Roberto Mares in Tijuana, Mexico, came to the U.S. at about 9 years old on a valid visa to join his father, who was a…

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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La Casa in Sodus offers temporary housing for migrant workers, offering a month's stay and asking for a $100 donation in return. A first-floor…

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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SODUS — Mavi Gonzalez walked across the desert from Motozintla, Mexico, to reach the U.S. She carried her 8-month-old daughter, Yasmine, in her arms.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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GRAND ISLAND - The Finger Lakes area falls under the umbrella of the border patrol's Buffalo sector.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Mavi Gonzalez (left), her husband Julio Lopez, and her sister Celita (right) are awaiting deportation back to Mexico. The Times recently met w…

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Mavi Gonzalez walked across the desert from Motozintla, Mexico, to reach the U.S.

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This is Celita Gonzalez's immigration card, an ID she was given as part of the deportation process.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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The Gonzalez family moved to this home in Sodus after spending time in Newark.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Mavi Gonzalez walked across the desert from Motozintla, Mexico, to reach the U.S.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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BLOOMFIELD — If Nayeli Ramirez had been born in her mother’s Guatemalan homeland, she might be dead by now.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Timoteo Tzun (left), 52, was born in Momostenango, Guatemala. He found political asylum in the U.S. and became a legal resident in 2005. His w…

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Sierra Ramierz

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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The Times met with Timoteo Tzun (left) and Sierra Ramirez (right) in housing provided by their employer in Bloomfield.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Translator Sally (Howe) Espinosa

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Timoteo Tzun (right) and Sierra Ramirez (left)

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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SENECA CASTLE — Every spring, Manuel Garcia and Juan Aguilera leave behind their wives and children and travel to the Finger Lakes for work.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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Accessing a public education in a foreign language and culture can be challenging for migrant workers.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Manuel Garcia (left) and Juan Aguilera sit in the moving transplanter and ready seedlings for planting.

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Quality control workers at Hemdale Farms in Seneca Castle follow behind a seedling transplanter to ensure that cabbage seedlings are planted i…

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Workers man the seedling transplanter at Hemdale Farms.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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When Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jason Schneider stepped onto a bus for a routine transportation check, the reaction was immediate.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Jason Schneider has been with the Border Patrol for 16 years and on the northern border since 2001. Before that he was assigned to a station i…

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Jason Schneider checks the identification of bus passengers during a routine transportation check in Rochester…

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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GENEVA - About once a month, Michael Bersani finds himself tracking down someone arrested for illegal immigration.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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Twelve years ago, Paula and Luis came to the United States with a two-year plan: Earn enough money for a new start in Mexico and then go home.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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An illegal immigrant cleans the cow barn at the Finger Lakes farm where she works.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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An illegal immigrant tends to the cows in the barn at the Finger Lakes farm where he works.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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For farmers hiring migrant labor, immigration raids are a constant and serious concern.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Eric Hansen talks on his phone at Hansen Farms in Stanley last week.

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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SODUS — “One house, two house, three house.”

  • By HEATHER SWANSON hswanson@fltimes.com
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GENEVA — At Humberto Aguilera’s house in Geneva, the playful shrieks and laughter of children abound. 

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Francisco Olivera and his wife, Maria, relax inside their house in Sodus. The Oliveras live there with their three children, Bellalith, 15; Fr…

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Francisco Olivera and his wife, Maria, are shown with their three children, Bellalith, 15; Francisco, 12; and Osvaldo, 10.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Jesus Aguilera of Geneva, whose parents are from Mexico, was born in the United States. He is 5 years old.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Rocio Aguilera helps translate for her mother. She is 8 years old.

  • Spencer Tulis / Finger Lakes Times
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Ana Cristina Aguilera of Geneva, whose parents are from Mexico, was born in the United States. She is 3 years old.

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