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.
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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URMv42ySOLU)
"Whether licenses or citizenship, our drive is not a piece of paper; it's our rights and dignity."
- Alberto Madrigal, Migrant Justice member
February 12, 2013, Washington DC
A delegation of 10 Migrant Justice members and a representative from the Vermont Workers' Center traveled to a groundbreaking gathering of over 300 immigrant worker leaders across the country in Washington, D.C on February 12th and 13th.
The gathering took place under the banner United Workers Congress, which is a national network of grassroots immigrant worker organizations who are excluded from fundamental human and workers' rights.
The mission was to build a more unified movement for immigration reform that creates a path to Citizenship for the entire 11 million undocumented people in this country, and upholds fundamental human rights for all.
Migrant Justice created this photo slideshow to bring you there:
Driving Towards Human Rights in Vermont
SEE THE STORY TOLD THROUGH PICTURES HERE: http://www.flickr.com//photos/migrantjustice/sets/72157632709096043/show/
2/12/13--Our Vermont State Legislature is in session during the winter months, so sunlight slides straight in through the cafeteria mid-day as state senators and representatives meet with folks from around Vermont. The sunshine lights the tops of people’s heads as if to provide additional brainpower through solar gain.
Migrant Justice Takes Huge Step Towards Access to Driver's Licenses in Vermont
Grassroots Campaign Momentum Growing For a Big Victory in 2013
Dec. 14, 2012---After nearly a year of non-stop grassroots organizing, 35 farmworkers took to the State House on Thursday for a final push to successfully move a Legislative Study Committee to an 8-1 vote, recommending that Vermont create a law to allow undocumented residents to access driver's licenses and IDs in 2013! Long time Migrant Justice ally and faith community leader Laura O'Brien was there last Thursday and shares this reflection about the big day below. For a photo essay go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/migrantjustice/sets/72157632274984146/show/
Teacher and writer Parker Palmer talks about harnessing the “creative tension” of the world as a necessity for being an agent of change. That is, finding a way to operate in the world in that space between the way things are and the way we know they can and should be, without becoming so jaded or idealistic that action is impossible.
I would like to think the members of the Driver’s License Study Committee were able to do this on December 13, helped in large part by the imagery surely burned into their mind’s eyes throughout the morning’s proceedings. Around the center table of the House Chamber on Thursday morning this group of power holders was discussing the bureaucratic logistics of what it would mean to grant access to driver’s licenses to people without a Social Security number. And more specifically, how might Vermont’s migrant farmworkers fit into this system.
UPDATE: MIGRANT JUSTICE AT THE PEOPLE'S CONVENTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS!
Migrant Justice has undergone a deep transformation over the past year
An atmosphere of positive energy and a sense of organized chaos coated Room 10 of the State House on Wednesday, April 18th as more than 60 migrant workers, farmers, and community allies gathered to celebrate passing S-238, the study committee on drivers licenses, as a significant step towards building a movement for drivers licenses for all Vermont residents next year.
We kicked off the morning with a teach-in and constant revolving door of legislator visits who had been flooded with notes from constituents invited to come join us.