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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Despite Activist Outcry, Panel Passes Updated Impartial Policing Policy

Posted By on Tue, Dec 12, 2017 at 6:47 PM

Jay Diaz, a staff attorney for the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, speaks with Brandon Police Chief Christopher Brickell. - TAYLOR DOBBS
  • Taylor Dobbs
  • Jay Diaz, a staff attorney for the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, speaks with Brandon Police Chief Christopher Brickell.
Vermont’s Criminal Justice Training Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an updated Fair and Impartial Policing policy to serve as a model for law enforcement agencies across the state.

The policy is meant to prevent cops from discriminating while interacting with the public, but civil liberties and immigration advocates say the new rules actually remove protections from a 2016 version.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Footage Shows Feds Using Ethnic Slur During Traffic Stop

Posted By on Fri, Dec 8, 2017 at 5:07 PM

Body camera footage from a Franklin County sheriff's deputy - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Body camera footage from a Franklin County sheriff's deputy

During a traffic stop last summer, a Franklin County sheriff’s deputy quickly discovered the driver of a green Dodge truck couldn’t speak English. Through a translator, the deputy also learned that the man didn’t have a Vermont driver’s license. He radioed for backup from a “Romeo unit.”

Within 10 minutes, U.S. Border Patrol agents were standing next to the green truck.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ben & Jerry's Vows to Better Conditions for Migrant Workers

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 5:43 PM

Will Lambek, left, and Enrique Balcazar of Migrant Justice - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Will Lambek, left, and Enrique Balcazar of Migrant Justice
After more than two years of prodding by a local migrant farmworker advocacy group, Ben & Jerry's has agreed to improve employee conditions at the farms in its supply chain.

Members of Migrant Justice and Ben & Jerry's CEO Jostein Solheim announced the deal Tuesday during a celebratory gathering in front of the ice cream shop on Church Street in Burlington. Solheim touted the program as "first in the dairy industry, first in the world."

Then he and members of Migrant Justice signed the Milk With Dignity contract that will eventually be applied to all northeastern farms in Ben & Jerry's supply chain.

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Walters: Welch on DACA, 'Surreal Atmosphere' of Trump Meeting

Posted By on Thu, Sep 14, 2017 at 1:18 PM

Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) speaks at a press conference at the Burlington International Airport. - FILE: ALICIA FREESE
  • FIle: Alicia Freese
  • Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) speaks at a press conference at the Burlington International Airport.
Uncertainty is in the air over Washington, D.C., as top congressional Democrats say they have a deal on enacting into law the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program while President Donald Trump insists otherwise. For Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.), it's just the latest example of what he calls "an improvisational president. He goes from meeting to meeting, and whatever happens in that meeting is the news of the moment."

Welch attended a meeting on Wednesday that included Trump and 14 members of Congress, split equally between Republicans and Democrats. Welch describes "a quite surreal atmosphere" in which the president talked of bipartisan action while congressional Republicans continue to freeze out the Democrats.

"The president indicated support for the Dreamers [those early arrivals who face deportation unless DACA is extended], but also mentioned security issues," Welch says. "I urged the president to not link security issues with the treatment of the Dreamers, and said that this calls for a Lincolnesque moment in presidential leadership, where we do the right thing because it’s the right thing."

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Monday, September 11, 2017

UVM Medical Student Says DACA Gave Him a Chance to Chase Dream

Posted By on Mon, Sep 11, 2017 at 9:45 PM

Juan Conde (in red tie), flanked by UVM president Tom Sullivan (left), Congressman Peter Welch (right) and fellow medical students - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Juan Conde (in red tie), flanked by UVM president Tom Sullivan (left), Congressman Peter Welch (right) and fellow medical students
Juan Conde is fighting to keep his dream alive.

Flanked by University of Vermont president Tom Sullivan, Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and fellow students at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine, Conde on Monday spoke at a press conference about his experience as an undocumented immigrant.

Conde is among the 800,000 people whose lives have been thrown into turmoil after President Donald Trump last week rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The directive gives Congress a six-month window to decide on the fate of the DACA recipients, who are commonly known as Dreamers.

In a letter that Conde sent to Welch last week — and which has since been made public — the first-year med student urged the congressman and his colleagues to "come up with a legislative solution to this issue."

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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Vermont DACA Recipient Speaks Out After Trump Rescinds Program

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 11:29 AM

Martha Herrera Coria - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Martha Herrera Coria
Martha Herrera Coria is now unsure of her immigration status, but she's not afraid to speak out.

The 27-year-old Mexican woman is a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was thrown into turmoil Tuesday when President Donald Trump announced a plan to end it.

"I'm speaking out because so many are afraid to," Herrera Coria told Seven Days Tuesday through an interpreter. "Now is not the time to be defeated, or hide and go back living in the shadows."

Herrera Coria arrived in the U.S., undocumented, with her siblings when she was 15. She gained DACA status in 2012, the same year that president Barack Obama issued an executive order granting temporary relief from deportation for undocumented youth who came to the U.S. as children.

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Welch: Trump's DACA Decision Puts 42 Vermonters at Risk

Posted By on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 3:10 PM

Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) speaks to the media Tuesday at Burlington International Airport. - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • Terri Hallenbeck
  • Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.) speaks to the media Tuesday at Burlington International Airport.
Forty-two Vermonters’ immigration status is uncertain now that President Donald Trump has vowed to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vt.).

Speaking at Burlington International Airport on Tuesday before he boarded a flight to Washington, D.C., Welch said he plans to urge his colleagues to restore the program. Vermont’s two senators said this week they agree that Congress should take action, as did Gov. Phil Scott.

DACA, enacted by president Barack Obama in 2012, has given legal protections to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children.

“This is the height of cruelty,” Welch said of Trump’s promise to phase out the program. “The only country they’ve ever known … is right here in the United States of America.”

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Hood's Off: Burlington White Nationalist Attended Charlottesville Rally

Posted By on Tue, Aug 15, 2017 at 6:58 PM

Ryan Roy in the VICE News video - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Ryan Roy in the VICE News video
Update, August 16, 2017: Uno Pizzeria & Grill has confirmed it fired Ryan Roy.

A Vermonter was among the neo-Nazis and other “Unite the Right” types who shook up Charlottesville, Va., in a march-turned-mêlée last weekend. Today’s white supremacists don’t wear hoods, apparently, so as soon as the tiki-torch-wielding images went viral, internet vigilantes around the country started naming and shaming them.

Locals first recognized 28-year-old Ryan Roy in a Vice News video clip. Wearing a backpack and holding a torch, Roy is seen briefly chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!”

On Tuesday Seven Days tracked down Burlington resident Roy, who said the rally “showed that we’re a legitimate movement, that this is a movement of people. It’s not like a fringe thing.”

In a 25-minute interview, Roy admitted to attending the weekend’s events and spoke unabashedly about his “white identitarian” views.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Boy Found Dead After Falling Into Winooski River

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 4:35 PM

Recovery efforts along the WInooski River - KYMELYA SARI
  • Kymelya Sari
  • Recovery efforts along the WInooski River
Updated at 5:55 p.m.

Authorities on Wednesday afternoon recovered the body of an 11-year-old boy who slipped and fell into the Winooski River on Tuesday evening.

Ali Muhina had been playing on the riverbank with friends when he slipped and fell into the water, friends and relatives told Seven Days. The other boys ran home to get help after they were unable to pull their friend back to safety. Witnesses on the other side of the river, just below the hydroelectric dam, called police.

Colchester Technical Rescue, the Winooski Fire Department and the Winooski Police Department started searching for the boy around 7 p.m. and ended for the night about three hours later. "It got too dangerous for the rescue team to recover anybody in the dark," said Winooski police chief Rick Hebert.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Vergennes Farmer Wins Right to Argue in Court for Asylum

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 5:04 PM

Juan De La Cruz with his sheep - COURTESY: KIRSTEN DE LA CRUZ
  • Courtesy: Kirsten De La Cruz
  • Juan De La Cruz with his sheep
An undocumented Vergennes farmer who was ordered to return to Mexico will have the opportunity to plead his case for asylum in immigration court, the man's lawyer said Thursday.

Juan De La Cruz had originally been ordered to leave the United States by July 6. But his forced removal was delayed after his attorney, Matthew Kolken, argued that De La Cruz had a "reasonable fear of torture" if he returned to his home country.

Last Friday, De La Cruz and Kolken, who is based in Buffalo, N.Y., presented the case by phone to an asylum officer who granted De La Cruz the opportunity to argue for "relief from removal" before an immigration judge.

"The judge will decide if he'll be able to receive protection from the United States," Kolken told Seven Days. "We are just keeping our fingers crossed," he added.

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