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.
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.
Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:07 AM EDT2014-04-16 04:07:42 GMT
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow. Rivers are spilling their banks, roadsMore >>
Rain, flooding and now snow. This weather rollercoaster is causing problems all around our region. Temps have dropped so the heavy rainfall has switched to snow.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 8:08 PM EDT2014-04-16 00:08:37 GMT
Flood warnings are in effect around our region as heavy rains begin to move through. There is already localized flooding at some of the typical problem spots, like the wrong-way bridge on Route 15 inMore >>
Parts of our region are already flooding and others are bracing as heavy rains move through. Not only is rain falling fast, but warm temperatures Monday melted snow, adding to high waters.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:06:00 GMT
A man had to be pulled from the Black River in Springfield Tuesday morning. The Hartford Fire Department says it's working to pull a man out from the river. They say he got stuck about 75 feet out inMore >>
Vermont emergency workers have rescued a man stranded in the middle of a treacherous section of river in downtown Springfield. More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-04-15 21:02:17 GMT
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed. Jury draw was scheduled to begin Monday for Richard Gallow. He is charged with sexual assault and lewd and lascivious conduct on a femaleMore >>
The sex crimes trial of a former prison guard has been delayed.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:27 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:27:17 GMT
Arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job. On Tuesday former firefighter Elmer Joerg pleaded no contest to setting the blaze. Investigators say the former volunteer was caught on camera settingMore >>
An arson at the Albany Fire Department was an inside job.More >>
Tuesday, April 15 2014 7:26 PM EDT2014-04-15 23:26:03 GMT
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. Derek Niles pleaded no contest to reckless endangerment Tuesday. He got a deferred sentence and will be on probationMore >>
There was a plea deal for a man who triggered a 5 hour standoff in Newport last fall. More >>