Montpelier’s migrant abuse

The United States has long been considered the world’s leading haven for immigrants and a beacon of promised opportunity. However, under the current visa system allowing entrance into the country, corruption and deceit have displaced this once welcoming image. Complaints against Montpelier’s prominent Samosaman Café and its owner Nuad Ndibalema have uncovered the realm of visa-holder abuse within the state of Vermont. Four Peruvian students were assigned to work this winter for the café under the authority of temporary work visas. The normal process for attaining such a visa is to be recruited by an employer, to whom the guest worker is then obligated by contract to work for until the end of his or her term. This is how these four individuals were placed under the jurisdiction of Ndibalema, who made various promises to them regarding their employment. The only problem was that, after sacrificing $3,000 each in visa fees, they found Ndibalema was far from trustworthy. Of his neglected obligations was the guarantee of at least 20 hours of work per week. In reality, the workers typically got only eight, which is far below what they agreed to upon coming. Also, their list of grievances included that they were promised proper housing for the duration of their stay, payment for which they were told would not be required. Not only was the housing squalid and crowded, but it came with a $200 fee to be extracted from their meager pay. Despite this slew of evidence of inhumane treatment, the four workers were still prohibited from obtaining new jobs or housing, mainly because they were legally bound to their employer by the terms of their visa. This depravation of the fundamental right of movement, both of job and residence, is innately immoral and at the heart of the visa system. Data shows that visa workers are pouring into the state of Vermont, attracted by jobs at ski resorts and tourist hot spots. However, the state is apparently totally ignorant to the abuses inflicted on these migrant residents. Not only should Ndibalema be held accountable for his systematic exploitation of the four workers in his care, but Vermont should enhance its regulation of such programs that put the rights of fellow humans at risk. The visa system should promote international goodwill and positive cultural exchange but instead it has allowed heinous treatment to occur.