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Monday, March 27, 2017

Migrant Justice Cases Spark Protest at Boston Immigration Court

Posted By on Mon, Mar 27, 2017 at 6:47 PM

Lymarie Deida holds her daughter, Solmarie Carrillo, as she speaks about her husband, Alex Carrillo, at a rally outside a Boston court on Monday. - ELISE AMENDOLA/AP
  • Elise Amendola/AP
  • Lymarie Deida holds her daughter, Solmarie Carrillo, as she speaks about her husband, Alex Carrillo, at a rally outside a Boston court on Monday.
A crowd of activists protested outside a federal courthouse in Boston on Monday as a judge considered setting bail for three detainees associated with Burlington-based Migrant Justice.

Protesters sang and chanted in gloomy weather. Their voices could be heard inside the courtroom in the John F. Kennedy Federal Building where Judge Paul Gagnon presided.

Gagnon set bail for two of the defendants, Enrique Balcazar, 24, and Zully Palacios, 23, at $2,500. They were expected to post bail and be released on Tuesday morning.

Boston immigration attorney Matt Cameron, who represented the three detainees, argued that their ties to the community, activism work and lack of a criminal record made them eligible for minimal bond.

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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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Judge: McAllister Can Withdraw Plea in Sexual Assault Case

Posted By on Thu, Mar 23, 2017 at 12:21 PM

Norm McAllister, right, is shown with his former attorney Brooks McArthur in court. - FILE: TERRI HALLENBECK
  • File: TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Norm McAllister, right, is shown with his former attorney Brooks McArthur in court.
A Vermont Superior Court judge approved former state senator Norm McAllister’s request to withdraw from a plea agreement in his sexual assault case.

The decision, issued Thursday morning by Judge Martin Maley in St. Albans, means McAllister will stand trial on two misdemeanor counts of prohibited acts and one felony charge of sexual assault.

The former Franklin County legislator could face up to life in prison if convicted of the sexual assault charge.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Safe Injection Site Commission Acknowledges Political Difficulties

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 5:58 PM

Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George at a press conference Wednesday - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George at a press conference Wednesday
Chittenden County officials on Wednesday launched an initiative to study the creation of safe drug injection sites by acknowledging the resistance the idea could face.

State's Attorney Sarah George, who created the study commission, urged skeptics to keep an open mind, and stressed that current, less controversial practices have left hundreds of Vermonters struggling with addiction.

"They don't want to be committing crimes; they want to be reliable and trustworthy," George said.

She hopes the commission makes a recommendation in the next few months on whether the county should open an injection site where street drug users would have medical supervision and be exempt from arrest, she said.

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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

ICE Arrests Immigrant Worker Outside Burlington Courthouse

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 4:35 PM

Cesar Alex Carrillo, left, with his young daughter and wife, leading a 2016 march to urge the release of a migrant worker. - COURTESY: MIGRANT JUSTICE
  • Courtesy: Migrant Justice
  • Cesar Alex Carrillo, left, with his young daughter and wife, leading a 2016 march to urge the release of a migrant worker.
Immigration agents arrested a veteran Vermont dairy worker from Mexico on Wednesday outside a Burlington courthouse as he headed to a hearing for a driving under the influence arrest, according to a human rights organization.

Cesar Alex Carrillo, 23, faces deportation after his arrest by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers outside the Edward J. Costello Courthouse, according to Migrant Justice, a Vermont-based group led by immigrant dairy farmworkers.

Carrillo is married to a U.S. citizen who is pregnant with their second child, according to Migrant Justice.

"When they arrested Alex, they took away a father, a husband, a human being," his wife, Lymarie Deida, said in a statement released by the group. Deida and Carrillo have a 4-year old daughter.

During the hearing that brought Carrillo to the courthouse, prosecutors dismissed a DUI charge stemming from a 2016 arrest, though he was not present, Migrant Justice said.

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Chittenden Prosecutor Creates Commission to Study Safe Injection Sites

Posted By on Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 1:45 PM

Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George - COURTESY: GOV. PHIL SCOTT'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy: Gov. Phil Scott's office
  • Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George
Chittenden County State's Attorney Sarah George is creating a commission to study whether the county should allow so-called safe injection sites, where street drug users would have medical supervision and would be exempt from arrest.

George said she is not taking a formal position on the idea but wants an "open and honest discussion" about whether the sites could help in the fight against opiate abuse.

While George did not provide details, the sites generally allow users to inject drugs that they purchased illegally — without fear of prosecution. Rep. Selene Colburn (P/D-Burlington) introduced a bill earlier this year that would legalize such sites in Vermont.

"People in our community are committing countless crimes, losing their jobs, losing custody of their children and even dying because of this disease," George said in a prepared statement. "I have an obligation to examine all potential solutions that could reduce overdoses and deaths and keep our community safe."

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Monday, March 6, 2017

Middlebury, Police to Investigate Violent Protest of Murray Lecture

Posted By on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 at 7:49 PM

Professor Allison Stanger with Charles Murray on the live stream
  • Professor Allison Stanger with Charles Murray on the live stream
Updated March 7, 2017, with comments from Middlebury police.

Middlebury College has begun an independent investigation into what happened during — and after — an attempted lecture by controversial author Charles Murray, the school president said Monday.

The Middlebury Police Department will also begin an investigation into a confrontation that happened after the lecture, as Murray left the campus hall, Laurie Patton said in a statement. However, the department’s chief said that it has yet to receive a criminal complaint.

A school official previously said Professor Allison Stanger was injured while protecting Murray from a “mob” that descended on them as they tried to leave Thursday evening.

“This was an incredibly violent confrontation,” Bill Burger, the Middlebury College vice president for communications, told Seven Days on Friday.

School officials aborted an attempted lecture by Murray, who has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a white nationalist, after protesters shouted him down from inside Wilson Hall. He later gave an abbreviated talk, live streamed online and mediated by Stanger, from a different room inside the McCullough Student Center.

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