Migrants

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.

The House Transportation Committee voted 7-4 on Wednesday in favor of a Senate bill that would allow the state to grant driver identification cards to Vermont residents who are in this country illegally.

Last week, testimony before the committee turned sour when some farm owners questioned some of the migrant farming community’s behavior. Migrant farmers and their advocates characterized that approach as a last-ditch effort to block the legislation from moving forward.

VPR/Kirk Carapezza

At the Statehouse this week, some Vermont farm owners are raising public safety and liability concerns about a bill that would grant driver identification cards to Vermont residents who are in this country illegally.

It’s the latest effort to stall the legislation, which easily cleared the Senate earlier this month. But migrant workers and their advocates say some of the farmers’ arguments and allegations sound offensive and discriminatory.