Vermont State Immigration Laws
Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of immigration laws in Vermont. Here, you will find information on what rules Vermont has about immigration checks by law enforcement. You'll also learn more about the kinds of checks educational institutions may do. You can also read about employer checks. Finally, you'll hear more about E-Verify requirements and restrictions on public benefits.
We'll discuss the following topics:
- A History of legal tensions between Vermont and federal authorities
- Law enforcement and immigration in Vermont
- Employment and immigration
- Vermont E-Verify requirements
- Driver's license/ID requirements
- Public benefits restrictions
- Education checks
- Voting ID rules
- Housing ordinances and immigration
- Related resources
- Contact an immigration attorney
In January 2020, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan settled a lawsuit against the Department of Motor Vehicles. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and immigrant rights groups sued the department in this case. It had shared information about migrants with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE had collected the data from driver's licenses and other public records. The suit alleged violations of civil rights, including racial profiling. As a result of the settlement, the department paid penalties and could not share information in this way. This settlement shows that Vermont is more favorable to immigrants' rights. Like other Blue states, such as Colorado and Connecticut, Vermont is where migrants get more protection against abuse.
While most immigration issues are enforced by the federal government in Washington, D.C., more local governments are getting involved.
Under a federal program, convicts' names enter a database that checks immigration statuses. This is the "Criminal Apprehension Program." The system shares information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It's essential to know how agencies collect and share your information.
Refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules and the requirements for Form I-9.
Vermont has no requirement to use E-Verify to check employees' immigration statuses.
Applicants must show proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residence to get a driver's license or state ID.
Low-income immigrants who are ineligible for certain federal benefits can get state benefit supplements.
Under federal law, immigrants living here illegally can't get most public benefits. But they can use emergency services and health care that is "necessary to protect life and safety."
There is no state policy on in-state tuition for students without proper documentation.
Each state school may make its own decision on whether to allow a student to pay in-state tuition. This also applies to DACA recipients. Here's a breakdown of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a program created under the administration of President Barack Obama in 2012:
- It protects eligible young adults from deportation after their parents brought them to the United States as children.
- DACA also gives these young adults work authorization for limited periods. Those periods of work authorization are renewable.
The lack of a policy concerning in-state tuition benefits for migrants also applies to U visa holders. Here's a breakdown of U visas:
- U visas are available to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other victims of crimes.
- A U visa gives work authorization in the same way a green card does. U visas offer many of the same benefits as being a lawful permanent resident.
- U visas are also available to the family members of victims.
- The children of victims get temporary protected status, along with the U visa holder. To the children of victims, it provides special immigrant juvenile status.
- Victims of human trafficking may be eligible for a T visa. A T visa is specifically for victims of trafficking in persons. This is also known as a T nonimmigrant visa.
State schools may decide whether they give immigrants without proper documentation in-state tuition benefits. Migrants should check each school's policies to learn what a school will cost based on their immigration status. DACA recipients and other visa-holders should also know what their status offers them.
Vermont has no state-mandated identification law for voters.
Vermont has no particular housing ordinances based on immigration.
- Know Your Rights — A guide to protecting yourself and your family during immigration raids (PDF, CASA of Maryland and other organizations).
- U.S. Immigration Support — Resources for immigrants to Vermont.
- U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Vermont Chapter — This organization offers advocacy services for immigrants and migrants in the United States and Vermont. It offers programs for the resettlement of refugees, as well. This organization runs many initiatives and assistance programs to help immigrants. The organization also offers resources unrelated to legal problems. It also provides migrants with ways to access many types of services, including health care and mental health services. It also has family law resources, including those related to seeking orders of protection and getting U visas. Through this organization, you can also find help getting health insurance.
- South Royalton Legal Clinic — Law students from Vermont Law and Graduate School and affiliated lawyers offer noncitizens and migrants in the state legal assistance. The service is free for those who qualify. Law students from this Vermont law school and attorneys in this organization are providers of legal representation, regardless of your ability.
- Vermont State Bar Association — As the bar association for Vermont, this organization can help you find attorneys. It can give referrals for immigration attorneys for free. The bar association can be a handy resource to find legal services.
Immigration is a complex process. It's essential to know your civil rights. Legal advice from a licensed professional is always a good idea. Dealing with issues related to your legal status, including dealing with USCIS, can cause a great deal of confusion and stress. It doesn't matter what immigration-related circumstances you may face. You could navigate the naturalization process and try to become a U.S. citizen. Whether you've come to the United States without first obtaining a visa or going through the channels of legal immigration, don't go through this process alone. Contact an attorney today.
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Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you get the best results possible.