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Immigration

Monday, April 15, 2019

Weinberger: Migrants Welcome in Burlington if Trump Carries Out Plan

Posted By on Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 7:37 PM

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking Monday - COURTNEY LAMDIN
  • Courtney Lamdin
  • Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger speaking Monday
Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger said the city would welcome migrants apprehended at the southern border if President Donald Trump makes good on his plan to send them to sanctuary cities.

Weinberger first announced his position Saturday afternoon following the president’s tweet Friday that he is "giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities," or municipalities that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Weinberger has vowed to buck the Trump administration's immigration policies before, and on Monday, the mayor called the president's latest proposal “un-American.”

“Here in Burlington, we do not buy into, we do not support [Trump’s] very dark vision of immigrants that are attempting to come to this country to seek asylum,” Weinberger said at an afternoon news conference.

He said immigrants are often “fleeing very difficult situations” and have enriched Burlington’s community.

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Friday, February 8, 2019

Immigration Dispute Leads Feds to Withhold $2 Million in Grants From Vermont Police

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2019 at 4:27 PM

DREAMSTIME
  • Dreamstime
Updated at 6:10 p.m.

The federal Department of Justice is withholding more than $2 million in law enforcement grants from Vermont pending a review of the state’s compliance with a federal law that requires local officials to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.

“These grants are the DOJ Byrne JAG grant and the DOJ COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force grant,” VSP spokesman Adam Silverman wrote in an email to Seven Days.

The feds are refusing to pay the state a promised $1.3 million toward heroin enforcement until Justice Department officials are convinced that Vermont is in compliance with federal law, according to Silverman. Another two grants, for about $480,000 each, are also on hold.

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Thursday, January 24, 2019

Migrant LGBTQ Leader Faces Deportation After ICE Arrest at Courthouse

Posted By on Thu, Jan 24, 2019 at 11:14 AM

Cruz Alberto Sanchez-Perez - COURTESY OF Q2 PHOTOS
  • Courtesy of Q2 Photos
  • Cruz Alberto Sanchez-Perez
A Mexican dairy worker and leader in the immigrant LGBTQ community faces deportation after immigration agents arrested him on New Year's Eve inside a Middlebury courthouse.

Cruz Alberto Sanchez-Perez, known as Beto, had just pleaded not guilty to a charge of driving under the influence when he was scooped up by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, according to Migrant Justice.

The 26-year-old farmworker, who has been in the country since 2015, has filed for asylum in the U.S., claiming that he faced persecution in his home country based on his sexual orientation. After his arrest on immigration charges, Sanchez-Perez was being held at the Strafford County, N.H., detention center and was due to appear at an immigration court in Boston on Thursday, Migrant Justice said.

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Thursday, December 13, 2018

Cannabis
Winooski Green Card Holder Faces Deportation for Pot Conviction

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2018 at 12:27 PM

Thao Vo with his fiancee and her daughters - COURTESY OF THAO VO
  • Courtesy of Thao Vo
  • Thao Vo with his fiancee and her daughters
Thao Vo was riding to the bank on his motorcycle last August when a man driving a black Dodge Durango pulled him over. A federal agent got out of the SUV and told Vo he was being detained and taken to a federal immigration facility in St. Albans.

It was the beginning of six months behind bars for Vo, a Vietnamese citizen who has lived legally in the U.S. with a green card since 1999, when he was 6. He got out in March on supervised release. But officials have since told him that he must wear a GPS tracking device until he's deported to Vietnam in February because of a 2016 conviction for marijuana possession.

Along with his fiancée, Desiree Mora, and close friends, Vo is trying to raise money and publicity to fight the government’s decision.

“My whole immediate family is over here. Everybody,” Vo said in an interview. “I’ve been here for 20 years. I’ve made my mistakes, but I’ve never blamed anybody for my mistakes.”

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Lawsuit: Feds Used an Informant to Infiltrate Migrant Justice

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 at 12:11 PM

The Migrant Justice rally outside the federal courthouse - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • The Migrant Justice rally outside the federal courthouse
Updated 7:35 p.m.

Federal immigration authorities used a civilian informant to infiltrate meetings of Migrant Justice as part of a larger, sustained surveillance campaign that targeted members for their activism, the group alleges in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

The Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles has been helping Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Homeland Security to engage in an illegal effort to “harass, arrest and detain” farmworker activists, Migrant Justice said in a statement. Its suit names ICE, DHS and the DMV as defendants.

The plaintiffs are represented by a coalition of activists and legal heavyweights: the ACLU of Vermont, the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, the National Immigration Law Center, and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, a large law firm headquartered in Los Angeles.
The plaintiffs, from left to right: Miguel Alcudia Gamas, Zully Palacios Rodriguez, Jose Enrique Balcazar Sanchez and Victor Diaz - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • The plaintiffs, from left to right: Miguel Alcudia Gamas, Zully Palacios Rodriguez, Jose Enrique Balcazar Sanchez and Victor Diaz

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Vermont Farmworker Jailed After Arrest by ICE

Posted By on Fri, Jun 29, 2018 at 4:01 PM

Alejandro Hernández-Ventura - COURTESY: MIGRANT JUSTICE
  • Courtesy: Migrant Justice
  • Alejandro Hernández-Ventura
Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested another Vermont farmworker, according to a statement released Friday by Migrant Justice.

Alejandro Hernández-Ventura, 25, was being held at the Strafford County, N.H., detention center in lieu of an $8,000 bond, the group said.

Shortly after leaving home on a dairy farm in Addison County on Sunday, according to an account from Migrant Justice, Hernández-Ventura and his wife noticed that their car was being followed. They pulled over after ICE officers flashed their vehicle lights. The agents pulled the Mexican man out of his car and handcuffed him before driving off.

According to Migrant Justice, Hernández-Ventura has never been arrested or had any previous contact with ICE during the nine years he's been in Vermont.

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Leahy Bill Would Limit Feds' Authority to Search Near Borders

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 3:44 PM

KYM BALTHAZAR
  • Kym Balthazar
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation Thursday that would reduce the area near international borders where federal agents are allowed to conduct warrantless searches.

United States Border Patrol agents have for years established temporary checkpoints along Interstate 91 in southern Vermont to ask motorists about their citizenship and where they’re going. Some are detained for additional questioning. Because the checkpoint is within 100 miles of the Canadian border, federal law allows agents to do that without a warrant.

Federal law gives authorities expanded power near the borders in order to protect national security. But Leahy said in a statement that a range of 100 miles from the border is unreasonable. The new legislation, cosponsored by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Washington), would shrink the that zone from 100 to 25 miles.

"[T]his 100-mile zone is neither limited nor reasonable," Leahy said. "It includes marine borders. At present, it encompasses almost two-thirds of the population of the United States. This includes major cities such as New York, Seattle, Chicago, New Orleans and Los Angeles, even the 'border town' of Richmond, Va., as well as entire states such as Maine, Delaware, and Florida."

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Somali, Somali Bantu Communities Reel From Double Tragedies

Posted By on Tue, Jun 12, 2018 at 9:55 AM

An undated photo of Lul Ali Gure and her children - COURTESY OF SAID ELMI
  • Courtesy of Said Elmi
  • An undated photo of Lul Ali Gure and her children
A fire at a housing complex in Burlington late Saturday morning and a fatal car crash about two hours later have shocked the local Somali and Somali Bantu communities.

The tragedies, both involving refugees from the African nation and occurring just blocks away from each other, took place less than a week before the Islamic holiday of Eid, which Muslims celebrate to mark the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.

Lul Ali Gure, 29, was killed in a car crash around 1 p.m. Saturday near the Burlington-South Burlington line. She was the passenger in a car driven by Sadio M. Ali, also 29.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Fourteen Undocumented Workers Detained in Colchester Hotel Raid

Posted By on Mon, Jan 22, 2018 at 12:14 PM

Activists at a protest last year - FILE: SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • File: Sasha Goldstein
  • Activists at a protest last year
Federal immigration officers arrested and detained 14 undocumented construction workers staying at a Colchester hotel last week, the largest local raid "in recent memory," according to a spokesman for human rights organization Migrant Justice.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrived at the Days Inn on Route 15 — across the street from Saint Michael's College — around 5 a.m. last Thursday and and arrested the workers in the hotel breakfast room, said owner Darcy Church.* She described it as a "10 minutes, in-and-out" operation where most of the other guests never noticed anything was amiss.

"There was no commotion or anything," Church said.

Workers who were not detained then alerted Migrant Justice, said group spokesman Will Lambek. Many of the workers are being held at ICE's Strafford County House of Corrections in New Hampshire on immigration charges, though some may still be detained in Vermont, he added.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

UVM Administrators Decry 'Racist' Flyers Posted on Campus

Posted By on Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 2:42 PM

One of the flyers that was posted on the University of Vermont campus - COURTESY: THE VERMONT CYNIC
  • Courtesy: The Vermont Cynic
  • One of the flyers that was posted on the University of Vermont campus
Flyers featuring photos of men of color who were recently charged with local crimes appeared on the University of Vermont campus Monday, the federal holiday honoring civil rights hero Martin Luther King Jr.

"Stop Importing Problems," the text on the flyers read, and listed crimes next to each man's photo.

UVM police are investigating, as is the UVM Bias Response Team. UVM president Tom Sullivan and other top administrators issued this statement on Tuesday:

We regret to inform you that a small number of flyers espousing offensive, racist, anti-immigration views were found yesterday in the vicinity of the UVM Green, posted by an as-yet unknown individual or individuals. These abhorrent views are an assault on our values as an institution, as articulated in Our Common Ground. We condemn these flyers unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms. Our University strives to maintain a welcoming environment for all members of our community. 
The Vermont Cynic student newspaper first reported on the flyers. They were discovered as UVM prepared to kick off a series of events to honor King and explore civil rights topics during the coming week.

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