Advocacy Group Reacts To Obama's Immigration Plan

Nov 20, 2014

President Barack Obama says he will be laying out a plan Thursday to improve the immigration system. He says he plans to extend temporary legal status to more than five million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Advocates wonder how the move will help the Vermont's undocumented farmworkers.

The state is home to about 1,500 migrant dairy farmworkers, some undocumented. It's anticipated that they won't be covered under President Obama's plan.

Abel Luna, an organizer and campaign coordinator with Migrant Justice, says it's not clear whether any Vermont workers will be affected.

"We're not really clear about his plan for farm workers," says Luna. It might affect a big part of the migrant community, or it might not affect them at all."

The president's likely actions include stopping the deportations of immigrants in the U.S. illegally if they're the parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, and if they've been in the country for at least five years.

Luna says those families do exist in the migrant worker community in Vermont, but they aren't common.

"It's very rare. I can probably count them with both of my hands," says Luna. "So as of now it's very unclear how many people will be benefiting."

Still, Luna praises the President for taking action on immigration. He says it's a result of years of activism from communities of undocumented workers.