An escalation in immigration enforcement over the past year has brought a new level of anxiety for the several thousand migrant farm workers living in Vermont.
For the first time since 2010, arrests and detentions by the U.S. Border Patrol increased in Vermont, New Hampshire and northeastern New York last year.
The workers – many of them undocumented – are critically important to the state’s farm economy. To give you a sense of how important, consider that twice a year the Mexican government comes to a Vermont farm community to help hundreds of its citizens with financial and legal advice, and to issue passports and other government documents.
About 140 mostly undocumented workers turned out at a church meeting hall in Middlebury on a recent Saturday to share a warm meal with friends and to meet with their government officials.