The Department of Motor Vehicles of Vermont cooperated with federal immigration agencies to identify illegal aliens who applied for driver’s licenses, which is a practice that has been denounced by the American Civil Liberties Union. The cooperation apparently continued even after the Human Rights Commission of Vermont determined that the DMV illegally discriminated against a citizen of Jordan who applied for a Drivers’ Privilege Card, which is a type of license that allows illegal alien residents to legally drive in Vermont.
Abdel Rababah had lived in Vermont for 10 years and then applied for the Privilege Card in 2015. Allegedly, DMV officials were “openly hostile” to him and then contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU then called for a meeting with Rababah to speak about his application at a local office. It was there that federal immigration agents were waiting for Rababah and arrested him. Deportation hearings were thus triggered.
Rababah’s case was settled through mediation that resulted in a change in DMV policies relating to the application process. It was thus that the DMV added language to say that residents are not required to state their immigration status to receive their license.
DMV Commissioner Robert Ide said agency personnel were learning the new law that became effective a few weeks before Rababah applied. Ide said that they bore Rababah no ill will. “We were learning, and our counter people were learning. I don’t think anyone intentionally set out to make his life difficult,” Ide said, as quoted by VTDigger.org.
According to the ACLU, the practice of DMV cooperation with ICE was not curtailed. Vermont Governor Phil Scott (D) said he would “rectify” the issue. Last year, Montpelier became the third city in the state to declare itself a sanctuary for illegal aliens.