Quantcast

Migrant workers set to legally drive in Vermont - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Migrant workers set to legally drive in Vermont

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Javier Franco, 50, enjoys sharing photos of his wife and four children. He hasn't seen them in seven years, ever since he left Mexico. He says he came to Vermont to give them a better life back home.

"I wouldn't have been able to give my family the comfort of having a house," he said through a translator. "It would have been more difficult sending my children to school, taking care of their basic needs and all the materials they need for school."

Javier has become a grandfather since he got to Vermont. He hopes to go back to Mexico in two years.

Each morning at 6 a.m., Javier is up and heading to the barn on a dairy farm in Chittenden County. He spends his days cleaning out the barn and milking the cows. While all this hard work has provided a good life for his family, he admits it can be lonely.

"Life for any migrant worker is full of being alone, by yourself, not having contact with the rest of the community," he said.

That is about to change for people like Javier.

"A person who is here who cannot prove their legal status here in the United States now has the ability to come in. First, they will have to get a learner's permit and complete that phase of their training successfully, and then they'll be eligible to complete our driver's test," said Robert Ide, the commissioner of the Vt. Department of Motor Vehicles.

Now when you go to the DMV website and look under licenses, permits and IDs, there is a link for undocumented residents. They can get a Driving Privilege Card or a Learner Privilege Card. They have to prove their identity, their residency in Vermont and have Social Security verification, even if that means a letter verifying they can't get a Social Security number. 

Reporter Julie Kelley: Having a driver's privilege card-- what does that mean for you?

Javier Franco: First of all, it's a matter of being independent.

Right now, Javier has no way to leave the farm unless someone else can give him a ride. At 50 years old, one of his biggest concerns is getting to the doctor.

Javier Franco: My life will definitely change. Whenever I have a break or a day off I will be able to go visit my friends or go to church or go play a sport, do whatever I need with my free time.

Julie Kelley: That's not something you do now?

Javier Franco: No, never. No, it's work, home, work, home.

He says the solitude of that life can be lonely and he looks forward to being a part of a community that he has lived and worked in for many years now.

There are some people who have come out against this, concerned about what it means for security. In the end, Vermont lawmakers overwhelmingly supported the law.

Since the beginning of January, the DMV has received applications for 7,516 licenses. Of those, 46 percent are for privilege cards, or just over 3,400. The DMV says anyone can get a privilege card, so that number is not just migrant workers.

  • Local NewsMore>>

  • Child car seats in the spotlight

    Child car seats in the spotlight

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:59 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:59:59 GMT
    Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children in the United States, which is why making sure children are buckled up correctly is so important -- unfortunately most are not.
    Car crashes are the number one cause of death for children in the United States, which is why making sure children are buckled up correctly is so important -- unfortunately most are not.
  • Franklin County residents focus on lake pollution

    Franklin County residents focus on lake pollution

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:48:35 GMT
    A proposal to save Lake Champlain's water quality was dead on arrival last February in the state legislature, but residents in Franklin County are renewing their push for legislation to improve the water.
    A proposal to save Lake Champlain's water quality was dead on arrival last February in the state legislature, but residents in Franklin County are renewing their push for legislation to improve the water.
  • Emily Peyton and Dan Feliciano add voices to the debate

    Emily Peyton and Dan Feliciano add voices to the debate

    Monday, September 15 2014 5:29 PM EDT2014-09-15 21:29:49 GMT

    Two other gubernatorial candidates shared the gazebo with Scott Milne and Gov. Peter Shumlin for Saturday's debate.

    Two other gubernatorial candidates shared the gazebo with Scott Milne and Gov. Peter Shumlin for Saturday's debate.

  • FAHC: The wrong bill is in the mail

    FAHC: The wrong bill is in the mail

    Monday, September 15 2014 4:51 PM EDT2014-09-15 20:51:03 GMT
    The medical center confirms that 3,800 people with last names that start with the letters L through Q, errantly received old bills Monday.
    The medical center confirms that 3,800 people with last names that start with the letters L through Q, errantly received old bills Monday.
  • Sterling College launches $2M fundraising challenge

    Sterling College launches $2M fundraising challenge

    A tiny Vermont college that focuses on environmental stewardship is launching a $2 million fundraising challenge.
    A tiny Vermont college that focuses on environmental stewardship is launching a $2 million fundraising challenge.
  • Dump truck rolls over in Berkshire

    Dump truck rolls over in Berkshire

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:06:37 GMT
    There was a mess in Berkshire Monday when a dump truck rolled over.
    There was a mess in Berkshire Monday when a dump truck rolled over.
  • 25 fastest growing Vermont businesses honored in South Burlington

    25 fastest growing Vermont businesses honored in South Burlington

    Monday, September 15 2014 11:35 PM EDT2014-09-16 03:35:13 GMT
    From world renowned cheese and maple syrup to companies that run entirely on renewable resources Vermont businesses of all kinds continue to flourish. And there are 25 in particular that are amongst the fastest growing businesses in the state.
    From world renowned cheese and maple syrup to companies that run entirely on renewable resources Vermont businesses of all kinds continue to flourish. And there are 25 in particular that are amongst the fastest growing businesses in the state.
  • Fall hearing could determine fate of Vt. GMO labeling law

    Fall hearing could determine fate of Vt. GMO labeling law

    Monday, September 15 2014 6:51 PM EDT2014-09-15 22:51:09 GMT
    A fall hearing could provide the first clue to the fate of the state's recently-passed GMO labeling law. A group of food producers is suing Vermont over the mandated labeling of some products made with genetically engineered crops by 2016. The legal process is expected to take years, but experts say the first ruling could mirror the final ruling.
    A fall hearing could provide the first clue to the fate of the state's recently-passed GMO labeling law. A group of food producers is suing Vermont over the mandated labeling of some products made with genetically engineered crops by 2016. The legal process is expected to take years, but experts say the first ruling could mirror the final ruling.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WCAX. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.