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ICE Agents Arrest Dairy Worker En Route To Burlington Courthouse

Courtesy Migrant Justice
Alex Carrillo, left, with his daughter and wife, leading a 2016 Migrant Justice march. Carrillo, who set to have a DUI charge dismissed on Thursday at the Chittenden County Courthouse, was instead arrested by immigration officials.

A local advocacy group says federal immigration agents arrested a Vermont dairy worker in Burlington Wednesday morning. Representatives from Migrant Justice say Alex Carrillo, 23, was stopped by agents in plainclothes as he and his wife were parking near the Chittenden County courthouse.  

Carrillo came to the U.S. when he was 16, and he has been living in Vermont the past seven years, according to Migrant Justice. On Wednesday, he was heading to court to regarding a 2016 DUI. Though he never made it into the courtroom, the DUI criminal charges of were dismissed by the state on Wednesday, according to a clerk at the courthouse.  

Will Lambek of Migrant Justice says this arrest is a sign of Trump's new initiative to target people who have been charged with crimes, even if they haven’t been convicted. 

"This sort of arrest is perfectly in line with Trumps' recent executive order, where he sort of turns the idea of innocent until proven guilty on its head," Lambek says.

“[Carrillo] was actually on his way to court to have that charge dismissed, and it was dismissed yesterday in his absence. Unfortunately President Trump’s idea of justice is that you’re guilty until proven innocent.”

This is a departure from the Obama administration policy of focusing on deporting people who had been convicted of certain high priority crimes. President Trump's recent executive orderalso prioritizes those who have simply been charged with a criminal offense, as well as those who "have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense."

Lambek says it’s hard to say whether Trump’s executive order has increased immigration arrests in Vermont.

“Surveillance and arrests and detention by immigration enforcement is nothing new for immigrants in Vermont,” says Lambek. “People had been detained under the Obama administration and deported under the Obama administration, and that's continuing now under President Trump. It’s hard to say at this point whether that rate has increased or not.”

Carrillo is married to an American citizen; the couple has a 4-year-old child and is expecting another baby. 

According to a press release from Migrant Justice, his wife, Lymarie Deida, said: “When they arrested Alex, they took away a father, a husband, a human being.”

Carrillo has retained a lawyer who will help him argue his case.

Kathleen Masterson as VPR's New England News Collaborative reporter. She covered energy, environment, infrastructure and labor issues for VPR and the collaborative. Kathleen came to Vermont having worked as a producer for NPR’s science desk and as a beat reporter covering agriculture and the environment.
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