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Lawmakers ask ICE to drop federal deportation proceedings against 10 migrant farmworkers

A group of people stand on a green soccer field, several of them holding signs reading things like milk with dignity, migrant justice
Elodie Reed
/
Vermont Public
Earlier this summer, migrant farmworkers and allies participate in the filming of an advocacy video to secure better working and housing conditions here in Vermont. Forty-one state lawmakers have joined the group Migrant Justice in demanding Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop the deportation of 10 Vermont farmworkers.

Forty-one Vermont lawmakers are asking Immigration and Customs Enforcement to drop federal deportation proceedings against 10 migrant farmworkers.

The elected officials believe immigration authorities may have targeted the men because of their activism.

A photo of three people holding signs reading "ICE ya basta," plus a fourth person standing nearby. They're outside the federal building tan brick walls
Migrant Justice, Courtesy
/
Migrant farmworkers and their allies demonstrated outside the U.S. District Courthouse in Burlington to call attention to their petition to Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop the deportation proceedings against 10 Vermont farmworkers.

All 10 of the men are members of an organization called Migrant Justice, and they’d all advocated for migrant farmworker protections before they were arrested on alleged immigration violations.

"The 10 men are from Mexico and have lived in Vermont for years, primarily working and living on dairy farms," Migrant Justice wrote in a press release. "Some ... were pulled over while driving. Others were detained while shopping for food or wiring money to their families. One was detained after leaving a dentist appointment. All have since been released from ICE custody on bond, yet they remain in deportation proceedings."

Migrant Justice submitted a petition on behalf of the 10 men in June, asking ICE to close their cases.

And this week, Senate President Pro Tempore Becca Balint, Chittenden County Sen. Kesha Ram Hinsdale and Winooski Rep. Taylor Small organized an effort to send a letter to ICE from 41 Vermont lawmakers.

“These 10 men were all connected to Migrant Justice, and were really working on improving working conditions and improving human rights here in the state of Vermont," Small said. "And I think that’s the piece that we’re really leaning into.”

More from Vermont Public: Migrant farmworkers fight to end collaboration between Vermont police and Border Patrol

The Biden administration issued a memorandum late last year that encourages ICE not to pursue deportation for all immigration violations.

The memorandum also bans ICE from targeting activists.

ICE has not responded to an interview request from Vermont Public.

Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch with reporter Peter Hirschfeld:

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The Vermont Statehouse is often called the people’s house. I am your eyes and ears there. I keep a close eye on how legislation could affect your life; I also regularly speak to the people who write that legislation.
Elodie is a reporter and producer for Vermont Public. She previously worked as a multimedia journalist at the Concord Monitor, the St. Albans Messenger and the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, and she's freelanced for The Atlantic, the Christian Science Monitor, the Berkshire Eagle and the Bennington Banner. In 2019, she earned her MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Southern New Hampshire University.
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