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November 20, 2009

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Crack Down on VT Dairy Farms

Continuing its fine coverage of the plight of undocumented workers on Vermont's dairy farms, the Addison County Independent reported yesterday that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has begun inspecting Vermont dairy farms and subpoenaing their employment records. According to a Vermont Agency of Agriculture spokesperson, at least four Vermont dairy farms were issued subpoenas in an effort by ICE to ferret out farm laborers who've either overstayed their work visas or entered the country illegally. The inspections and subpoenas are part of a larger, nationwide sweep of more than 1000 workplaces, the Addy Indy's Kathryn Flagg reports.

Although the Agency of Ag hasn't identified which farms were targeted, the Burlington Free Press reported this morning that the affected farms were in Orleans and Franklin counties. It's estimated that more than 2000 undocumented laborers are employed in Vermont's dairy industry, though experts caution that reliable estimates are hard to come by.

Back in 2003, Seven Days first profiled the plight of Vermont's undocumented workers, who comprise an estimated 75 percent of all ag laborers in the region. Immigration advocates say that the vast majority are Mexican men, many of whom work long hours for minimal pay and support families back home.

What to hell is going on? This is crazy. Vermont farms are already in a deep hole and we have the new administration, Obama Inc., raiding dairy farms in Vermont. This is just plain nuts. Sure, drive out all of the "illegals" and starve! That makes good sense. Get ready to go to the farm to milk your cow for your milk and then stop by the orchard/grove to pick the apples/oranges. Oh, and don't forget to visit the slaughter house for your red meat. Bring your own sharp knife! You are going to need a fast car and fat gas card.

I'm sympathetic to the plight of dairy farmers, but you deal with the dairy farm crisis head on, not by ignoring illegal alien workers.

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