Migrant Workers

Will Lambek, Jose Luis Cordova Herrera, and woman who identified herself as Olga, from left, testified in the Legisalture last week. They say migrant farmworkers fear that local police will out them to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / The Times Argus

Civil rights groups say Vermont isn’t doing enough to prevent local police agencies from helping federal authorities identify and detain immigrants who are in the country illegally.

Will Lambek of Migrant Justice says a traffic stop and subsequent detention of two migrant farmworkers is evidence the state needs to strengthen its fair and impartial policing policy.
John Dillon / VPR

A recent case shows that when undocumented immigrants encounter local law enforcement, they may still run the risk of being turned over to federal immigration authorities. This happened despite a fair and impartial policing policy that discourages authorities from doing so.

The Mexican government's mobile consulate in Middlebury in early December. People sit at a table with computers and others fill out paperwork.
John Dillon / VPR

A little bit of Mexico came to Middlebury last weekend. Officials from the Mexican government were in town to help its citizens renew passports or obtain other documents.

Will Lambek, left, interprets for Enrique Balcazar, a Migrant Justice activist who helped negotiate the fair labor and living standards agreement with Ben & Jerry's.
John Dillon / VPR

Some Vermont dairy workers say their wages and living conditions have improved, thanks to an agreement reached last year between the workers and Ben & Jerry’s, a division of global consumer products company Unilever.

Melody Bodette / VPR

The General Consulate of Mexico in Boston will hold a mobile consulate in Middlebury on Saturday.

A-Digit

A group of farm workers is targeting ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's, a brand known for its social responsibility, asking the company to take part in a new program to ensure that the workers on Vermont dairy farms are guaranteed fair housing and decent wages.

The Milk With Dignity Program is an effort of the group Migrant Justice, which is dedicated to human rights and food justice.

Angela Evancie / VPR

More than a dozen migrant workers and activists staged a demonstration at a Ferrisburgh dairy farm Friday morning, protesting poor worker living conditions and demanding back pay for three workers who recently quit in response to the quality of their housing.

Living conditions on the farm, which supplies the St. Albans Co-Op Creamery, were sub-par, according to Victor Diaz, who had quit the previous day. He talked about leaky roofs, close quarters, and, most recently, sewage flowing through the sink, shower and washing machine in the trailer that the workers shared.

AP/Toby Talbot

A Mexican farmworker who became a leading advocate for undocumented migrant workers in Vermont has been granted a year-long stay from deportation.

Danilo Lopez won support from Vermont politicians who urged federal officials to let him remain in the country.

Two years ago, Lopez became the face of Vermont farmworkers who often live in the shadows when a car he was riding in two years ago was pulled over for speeding by state police.

VPR/Kirk Carapezza

Congress continues to search for a compromise on immigration reform. Meanwhile, Vermont is the latest state to approve legislation that allows those in this country illegally to apply for the right to drive. The bill passed in the House on Tuesday, 105-39, extends eligibility for driving and identification purposes.

It’s estimated that there are about 1,500 immigrant workers in Vermont, without whom this state’s vibrant dairy industry would likely collapse.

VPR/Kirk Carapezza

The House has advanced a bill that would allow people who are in the United States illegally to apply for the right to drive in Vermont.

The legislation is designed to improve mobility for migrant workers who are often isolated on Vermont farms.

The bill would create what are described as drivers’ privilege cards. It would allow the state to issue IDs that look different from a regular state license.

The Vermont House is expected to advance today a bill that allows those who may be in this country illegally to apply for the right to drive.

The bill would create what are described as drivers’ authorization cards, allowing the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue IDs that would look different from a regular state license.