Bill to Extend Access to Driver's Licenses Regardless of Immigration Status Passes Vermont Senate Transportation Committee w/ 4-1 Vote

Bill to Extend Access to Driver's Licenses Regardless of Immigration Status Passes Vermont Senate Transportation Committee w/ 4-1 Vote

Immigrant Workers Welcome Springtime Change With A Big Step on the Road to Rights in Vermont

March 29, Burlington, VT-Vermont's farmworker community is celebrating a big step on their 1 year long campaign for the state of Vermont to recognize one of the most fundamental of all human needs and rights--mobility. The approximately 1000-2000 migrant workers, many who sustain Vermont's dairy industry, too often find themselves stuck and isolated on Vermont farms unable to predictably or independently access such fundamental needs as food, health care, or simply enjoy community life. S-38, the Senate bill that passed with a 4-1 vote in the transportation committee this morning, would change this by allowing all Vermont residents, regardless of immigration status, to access driver's licenses and state issued IDs once they prove identity and Vermont residency and pass all written and road tests.

Drivers License Hearing

Danilo Lopez, a farmworker leader and spokesperson reacted to the news. "All of the work that my community and our allies have done is finally beginning to blossom. We are hopeful that all of our work and testimonies have opened the eyes and hearts of the Senators and Representatives in order to recognize our needs. S-38 is more than a license. Nobody should be denied the right to freedom of movement, and that's what S-38 allows." (For a copy of Danilo's committee testimony go here:

Brendan O'Neill, an organizer with Migrant Justice summarized the importance of the bill, "Imagine living and working in some of the most isolated parts of Vermont without the ability to drive. This bill is a win-win for farmworkers, farmers and all Vermont communities by continuing Vermont's long and proud tradition of being on the right side of the major human rights struggles of our time." Natalia Fajardo, an organizer with Migrant Justice got the news and reflected, "Its clear spring is finally hear. Flowers are starting to bloom, geese are back, and crows look for nesting material. And after this vote, I can sense that a new spring is being born in Vermont. A spring when the marginalized are rising up, uniting, and being recognized in our humanity and for our contributions to this state."

Migrant Justice says the bill passed due to a recipe of the right ingredients: a persistent groundswell of broad grassroots support of both farmworkers and farmers eventually won the hearts of Senators Campbell, Kitchell, and Westmann who pushed for the bill in committee. Additionally, the farmworker community has earned the respect and support of the Governor. Furthermore, the legislation puts into practice a mandate from a legislative study committee this summer where the DMV, the Agency of Agriculture, the Department of Public Safety, the Vermont Farm Bureau, the VT Human Rights Commission, the Addison Economic Development Corporation, Migrant Justice and Rep. Burke and Senator Flory voted 8-1 (Senator Flory opposed) in favor of extending access to driver's licenses/ID regardless of immigration status.
Migrant Justice builds the voice, capacity and power of the migrant farmworker community and engages community
partners to organize for social and economic justice and human rights.

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