Farmworkers tend to a field in the town of Seneca in the summer of 2016.

In answer to allegations that “illegal” immigrants are draining our welfare system, we want to point out that they cannot and do not apply for our social services. You must be a U.S. citizen or at least a permanent legal resident in order to qualify.

Mexicans, specifically, do not understand the concept of having the government support them. They come here to WORK, and they work very hard for very little money. Taxes and social security are deducted from their paychecks. Undocumented immigrants do not dare to file for a tax refund, nor will they ever collect Social Security, yet they are paying into both the tax base and a retirement system from which they will never benefit. Therefore, it is only fair that their children should have just as much opportunity for public education as any other taxpayer’s child because undocumented immigrants pay the same taxes as citizens.

Secondly, you need to understand the current status of Finger Lakes area agriculture. Thirty or 40 years ago, teenagers would spend school vacations working in the vineyards to earn money. Today, most citizens are not willing to work so hard for so little money. If you think that the jobs left open after these deportations will be filled by unemployed citizens, you are dreaming. Without a migrant workforce, farmers will have to pay higher wages in order to find people willing to work these jobs.

Perhaps we will all need the extra income since the wage increase will be reflected in the prices we pay for groceries. Our wine industry, which provides us with a substantial tax base in addition to bringing in thousands of tourists, will perhaps be one of the hardest hit. So sure, deport farm workers — that is if you don’t mind paying the price.

Congress has had ample opportunity to find a realistic, fair, and economically feasible solution to our dependence on undocumented workers. However, under House speakers John Boehner and now, Paul Ryan, the Republican-led House leadership has refused to let immigration reform legislation even come to a vote. This failure has led directly to draconian measures that needlessly persecute people at taxpayer expense.

Mass deportations, 10,000 additional immigration agents, new detention centers, more strain on our courts, and a 2000-mile border wall will cost billions. That money has to come from somewhere. Ask yourself, “What government agencies and services am I willing to give up in order to pay for this?”

This piece was co-authored by Kim Hansen, Anne Hoyt and Nancey Velez-Anderson. Hoyt, of Geneva, is an adjunct instructor for the Humanities and Adult Basic Education departments at Finger Lakes Community College and has master’s degrees in journalism from Syracuse. She is a former writer for the Finger Lakes Times.

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(2) comments


I didnt expect to see the FL times post lies, but this is absolute trash. An illegal immigrant only needs to have a baby born in the US to recieve governmental benefits. So let's not lead the public to believe the falsehoods you provide. Correct they will not collect ssi, but let's not try to continue to lead the public to believe they are not benefiting from the welfare system, or research prior to publishing articles so we do not continue to provide divisional articles like this. No wonder people have turned away from the finger lakes times.


Your statements are incomplete, but are consistent with conservative propaganda being published by anti-immigrant think tanks.

You should be sure of your facts before you start throwing the word 'lies' around. You should probably take your own advice and do some research.

Here is what my researcy turned up:

From the website of New York State Senator James L. Seward:

Under federal law, any alien who is not a "qualified" alien is ineligible for state and local public benefits. To be qualified one has to be here under asylum, admitted for permanent residence, or fit another limited federal category.
Federal rules generally bar illegal aliens from participation in state and local public benefit programs, unless the benefit is for the treatment of an emergency medical condition, is short-term, non-cash, in-kind emergency disaster relief or immunization.
New York also has a similar regulation under its rules that govern eligibility for the receipt of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Lawful residence in the United States, if the recipient is an alien, is among seven factors that affect eligibility.
A fair interpretation of the federal statute and state regulation must result in the conclusion that illegal aliens should not receive any form of state public assistance.

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