MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- A group of Mexican farm workers and several dairy farmers have testified in support of a guest worker program for the estimated 1,500 to 2,000 immigrants who work on Vermont's dairy farms.

The bill before the Senate Agriculture Committee would create state IDs for the workers making them eligible for state services.

There's a federal guest worker program for seasonal farm workers, but because the business is year-round, dairy farms aren't eligible for workers under the temporary visa worker programs.

A group called Migrant Justice wants the workers to be eligible for drivers' licenses.

Advocates said Wednesday immigrant farm workers, who are vital to Vermont's dairy industry, now face discrimination, fears of deportation and a lack of services. Some have gone days without food because they can't get to stores.

Copyright 2012 The AP.

Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter

Recommended for you