Get our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox
I have already subscribed | Do not show this message again
Your email has been successfully registered.
After months of campaigning, organized migrant farmworkers in Vermont's dairy industry successfully lobbied Governor Phil Scott to propose $2 million for the Immigrant Families Coronavirus Relief Fund.
The migrant farmworker-led organization based in Burlington, Vermont, Migrant Justice, announced the Governor's decision to include the emergency relief funds for undocumented residents in his budget proposal for the fiscal year 2021.
Vermont's iconic dairy industry, sustained by migrant farm labor from Mexico and Central America, enjoys billion-dollar profits annually. Yet, its unprotected workers, like all undocumented immigrants in the United States, were excluded from receiving federal Covid-19 stimulus checks of $1,200.
Over the past four months, Migrant Justice, founded in 2009, has fundraised over $200,000 to distribute to more than 400 excluded working families, receiving support from over 50 state senators and representatives, as well as local foundations, organizations, and churches. The organization realized, however, that private donations are an inadequate response to a public health crisis, and their efforts could not reach all excluded immigrants throughout the state.
Thus, the grassroots movement, following the recent example of California, which disbursed $75 million to its undocumented population, called on its supporters to pressure Governor Phil Scott to dedicate significant state resources to support undocumented workers left out of both the federal relief package and the state's $50 million bailout to the dairy industry.
While the Governor proposed $2 million for the Fund in FY21, the decision must be approved by the Vermont State Legislature, which meets virtually on August 27 to debate the proposal and eventually adopt the budget.
Migrant Justice, which has organized successful campaigns to secure drivers licenses for undocumented farmworkers, end racial profiling by the police and dignified working conditions in the dairy industry, calls on the legislature to increase funds to $5 million. Workers themselves will testify on the impacts of Covid-19 on their families and the need to provide all essential workers, including tax-paying undocumented immigrants, with basic pandemic relief.