Mexican Consulate Coming To Middlebury On Saturday
The General Consulate of Mexico in Boston will hold a mobile consulate in Middlebury on Saturday.The annual event provides consular services like passports, consular IDs, and Mexican birth registration for Mexican citizens living in Vermont who may not be able to travel to Boston. Officials will also be on hand for health, financial and legal information.
"The most important one is know your rights, know which rights are given to [people] under the Constitution and laws of the United States. We are also accompanied by some lawyers who can give personal counseling to those who request them," said Consul General Emilio Rabasa.
In the past 150 people have shown up for the Middlebury event and a similar number are expected this year. Rabasa said there is a "generalized tension among the workers and their families" under the administration of President Donald Trump, but he doesn't expect that to prevent Mexican citizens from utilizing consular services.
They provide a booklet in Spanish to help Mexicans living in the U.S. understand their rights.
"The people in Vermont have been so understanding. The farmers, the community leaders in churches and schools, they are so understanding and so supportive, because they all know one thing, these are hard workers," Rabasa said, and added they would be difficult to replace for the state's dairy farms.
The Mexican Consulate had been keeping a close watch on the discussions between the advocacy group Migrant Justice and the ice cream company Ben & Jerry's on a Milk With Dignity Pact which is designed to improve working conditions for farm workers. It will take effect in January 2018.
"That's a turning point," Rabasa said. "Because there is not a unified standard of labor and housing conditions on the farms. Some have good conditions, it's true. Others regular, others bad and even to pretty bad, so we want to standardize living and labor conditions to all of them. It took a lot of time, sometimes we thought that deal would not be reached, but fortunately it was signed and I'll be there now to once more support, applaud and now try to help as much as I can to see that the agreement is implemented."
The mobile consulate will be held on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society.