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Thursday, March 23, 2017

A Wife Vows to Fight Her Husband's Deportation

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 7:26 PM

Cesar Alex Carrillo, left, with his young daughter, Solmarie, and wife, Lymarie Deida, leading a 2016 march to urge the release of an immigrant worker - COURTESY: MIGRANT JUSTICE
  • Courtesy: Migrant Justice
  • Cesar Alex Carrillo, left, with his young daughter, Solmarie, and wife, Lymarie Deida, leading a 2016 march to urge the release of an immigrant worker
Cesar Alex Carrillo pulled up at the McDonald's in Colchester early on March 15. Carrillo, 23, and his wife, Lymarie Deida, 21, were on their way to the Chittenden County courthouse. Carrillo faced a DUI case, but they weren't worried. The couple already knew from a previous hearing that Carrillo's misdemeanor DUI charge would be dismissed.

They ate a leisurely meal as snow fell outside. Carrillo paid for a homeless man's breakfast, Deida said. Afterward, Deida lay her head on her husband's chest as they sat in the car. The previous Sunday, they had found out that Deida was pregnant.

"He said, 'This year's going to be a good year,'" she recounted in an interview Wednesday with Seven Days.

Just hours later, at 9 a.m., Carrillo was pulled over by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and arrested.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

After Arrests, Attorney Says ICE is Targeting Migrant Justice

Posted By on Tue, Mar 21, 2017 at 3:24 PM

Activists rally to release Migrant Justice activists Saturday. - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Activists rally to release Migrant Justice activists Saturday.
The detention of three immigrant advocates last week points to a systematic targeting of Migrant Justice workers, according to their immigration attorney.

Matt Cameron, a Boston-based immigration attorney, has agreed to represent Cesar Alex Carrillo, Enrique Balcazar and Zully Palacios pro bono. He called the arrests a "clear, simple case of retaliation" and painted a picture of a vindictive, overreaching Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency in Vermont.

"There's nowhere else where they would surveil people like [them]," Cameron said in a phone interview with Seven Days on Tuesday.

He called the Vermont office "over-resourced" and contended that the three most recent arrests, coupled with the arrests of Victor Diaz and Miguel Alcudia last year, point to a broader trend. "Why are we wasting resources on thoroughly decent people like Zully and Enrique who are doing really important work for their communities?" he said.

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Vermont's Congressional Delegation Joins the Criticism of ICE Arrests

Posted By on Mon, Mar 20, 2017 at 9:00 PM

Protesters marching on Saturday - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Protesters marching on Saturday
The members of Vermont's congressional delegation on Monday evening said they have expressed "serious concerns" to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement about the recent arrests of Migrant Justice activists.

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) questioned ICE's actions and the potential impact on a crucial state industry. Their statement says: "Instead of focusing on removing those people who pose a threat to public safety or national security, the Trump administration is targeting all undocumented persons, including the people that help keep our dairy farms and rural economy afloat."

It also says, "Instead of common sense reform, we now have a divisive and xenophobic executive order issued unilaterally by President Trump that is tearing families and communities apart, and endangering our dairy farms here in Vermont."

Activists took to Twitter and the streets Friday and Saturday to denounce the arrests of Enrique Balcazar, Zully Palacios and Cesar Alex Carrillo, who were all detained within a three-day period in Burlington.

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Friday, March 17, 2017

ICE Arrests Two More Immigration Advocates in Burlington

Posted By on Fri, Mar 17, 2017 at 8:37 PM

Zully Palacios and Enrique Balcazar - COURTESY OF MIGRANT JUSTICE
  • Courtesy of Migrant Justice
  • Zully Palacios and Enrique Balcazar
Updated March 18, 2017 at 1:55 p.m.

Immigration officials arrested two more undocumented Migrant Justice advocates Friday afternoon, leading to protests that drew hundreds of people.

Enrique Balcazar, 24, and Zully Palacios, 23, were arrested and detained by undercover Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents during a traffic stop on Shelburne Road in Burlington, said Will Lambek, a spokesman for the Vermont-based human rights organization.

Migrant Justice members arrived on the scene to see both Balcazar and Palacios being loaded into an ICE van. Neither had a criminal record, according to Lambek.

The incident marks the third ICE arrest in three days. On Wednesday, 23-year-old Cesar Alex Carrillo was detained on his way to a Burlington courthouse to respond to a misdemeanor DUI charge. The charge was later dismissed, though Carrillo was not present at the hearing.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017

Former Rutland Mayor Describes Election Loss in VICE Interview

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 5:47 PM

Chris Louras - COURTESY HBO
  • Courtesy HBO
  • Chris Louras
The show’s over for Chris Louras.

“VICE News Tonight” followed the former Rutland mayor Monday as he prepared for his last day in office. He lost his reelection bid March 7 to David Allaire by a big margin: some 776 votes.

The HBO show captured Louras packing up his things inside city hall, exchanging a hug with a colleague and driving off into the sunset in his Smart car (which bears an “I Love Rutland, VT!” bumper sticker).

Much of what he told Vice News during the four-minute clip echoed what he told Seven Days reporter Mark Davis. His loss was a referendum on his decision to relocate refugees to Rutland, he said, and he never saw it coming.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

House Backs Bill to Gird Against Trump Immigration Action

Posted By on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 7:21 PM

Rep. Ron Hubert (R-Milton) questions a bill that would insulate state authorities from being deputized as federal immigration officers Tuesday in the House chamber. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Rep. Ron Hubert (R-Milton) questions a bill that would insulate state authorities from being deputized as federal immigration officers Tuesday in the House chamber.
A bill that would insulate Vermont authorities from being commandeered to enforce federal immigration law drew wide support in the House on Tuesday even as some members raised red flags.

The bill, which passed the Senate unanimously last month and has the backing of Republican Gov. Phil Scott, moved forward in the House with a 110-24 vote.

The legislation is intended to gird against President Donald Trump’s immigration-related executive orders. It would preclude Vermont police from being deputized to enforce federal immigration law without the governor’s permission and bar the state from knowingly providing information that could be used to establish a religious registry.

Rep. Ron Hubert (R-Milton) peppered Rep. Chip Conquest (D-Newbury), vice chair of the House Judiciary Committee, with questions about possible unintended consequences.

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Walters: Donovan Joins Challenge to Trump Travel Ban

Posted By on Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 7:05 PM

  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • T.J. Donovan
Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan has joined a court challenge to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning immigration from six predominantly Muslim countries and temporarily suspending the United States’ refugee program.

Trump issued the new order on March 6 after his original travel ban was struck down by a federal appeals court a month earlier. Trump had initially vowed to fight on but eventually decided to drop the case and prepare a substitute ban.

The state of Hawaii was the first to file suit against the revised executive order, which was tailored to survive expected legal challenges.

On Monday, Donovan and nine other state attorneys general filed an amicus brief in support of Hawaii’s suit. “Vermont has a tradition of standing up against discrimination and I believe this is an appropriate role for us to play,” Donovan said.

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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Rutland Mayor Says He Was 'Whooped' by Refugee Backlash

Posted By on Wed, Mar 8, 2017 at 4:56 PM

Mayor Chris Louras - FILE: CALEB KENNA
  • file: caleb kenna
  • Mayor Chris Louras
Rutland Mayor Chris Louras didn't utter the word "refugee" during his reelection kickoff speech, and tried desperately to make the campaign about more than just the resettlement debate that roiled his city for the past year.

But Wednesday, as he processed his lopsided defeat to Alderman Dave Allaire, the chief opponent of his plan to bring 100 Syrian and Iraqi refugees to the city, Louras said he had been wrong on two key points:

One, the refugee issue was the only one that mattered to voters. And two, he was apparently mistaken in his oft-stated belief that the refugees' supporters outnumbered their opponents in the community.

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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

In Referendum on Refugees, Rutland Mayor Loses Reelection Bid

Posted By on Tue, Mar 7, 2017 at 8:25 PM

Rutland Mayor Chris Louras - CALEB KENNA
  • caleb kenna
  • Rutland Mayor Chris Louras
Rutland Mayor Chris Louras, who endured months of withering criticism for his plan to bring Syrian refugees to the city, lost his reelection bid on Tuesday.

In unofficial voting results, David Allaire, a city alderman and leading critic of the resettlement, trounced Louras, a 10-year mayoral incumbent, by a 776-vote margin, according to results cited by the Rutland Herald and WCAX-TV.

"I'm simply wishing him luck and I'm moving on," Louras told Seven Days Tuesday night. He declined further comment, saying he would "not hazard a guess" as to what the election results say about Rutland's support for refugees.

Allaire did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Donovan Releases Immigration Guidance Before Town Meetings

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 1:41 PM

T.J. Donovan - FILE
  • File
  • T.J. Donovan
On the eve of a Town Meeting Day that will see several Vermont communities consider declaring themselves "sanctuary cities," Attorney General T.J. Donovan released legal guidelines for local officials that present nuances to the debate.

On Tuesday, Plainfield, Hartland, Calais and East Montpelier are scheduled to debate curtailing local cooperation with federal immigration authorities, while officials in Richmond also expect discussion on the issue. Montpelier, Winooski, Burlington and South Burlington are also considering sanctuary status, but are not making any decisions on Town Meeting Day.

The model policies Donovan released Monday are meant to help those communities, concerned about President Donald Trump's ongoing attempts to crack down on potentially unlawful immigration, shape their strategies on the issue.

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