(Host) Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean says he believes that illegal Mexican immigrants working in Vermont’s dairy industry should be allowed to stay in the state without fear of being arrested by federal officials.
A recent VPR investigation into this issue revealed that more than 2000 Mexican workers are employed on dairy farms throughout Vermont.
Governor Jim Douglas says the state faces a dilemma because the workers are a vital part of the dairy industry but he doesn’t want to be in the position of breaking federal immigration laws.
Dean says he supports legislation that would allow many of these workers to remain legally in this country:
(Dean) “There’s a bill that’s authored by John McCain and Ted Kennedy which I think most Democrats believe is the right approach, which is you enforce the border law vigorously, that you tell people that have been here for a long time that they can get in line beyond everybody else and pay a fine and earn their legalization if they’ve never had any trouble with the law and paid their taxes and so forth and so on that there will be provisions for family reunification.”
(Host) Dean says he opposes an immigrant guest worker plan proposed by President Bush:
(Dean) “First of all it’s bad for the guest workers because the way the president’s guest worker program is put together you come to work for a company and the company, if they don’t like you, they can send you back. There’s no citizenship at the end. There’s no reward, except for making those minimum wages and since you can’t complain you can’t ask for an extra bathroom break or an extra nickel above minimum wage, because if do, they can send you back, no questions asked.”
(Host) Dean says he also strongly opposes a Bush Administration proposal to require passports for anyone traveling to Canada.
Dean says the plan will stifle trade and tourism between Vermont and Canada.