Major victory for Vermont's "no más polimigra" policy!
Posted Wed, 06/22/2016 - 12:46pm
We did it! Last week, we put out a call for support, asking you to take action to stop an 11th hour gutting of Vermont's Fair and Impartial Policing policy. The Migrant Justice community mobilized, and we are happy to announce that the new policy -- which will go into effect across the state on July 1st -- is a big step forward to stop discriminatory policing and the harmful collaboration of local police and immigration agents.
Our victory strengthening the policy came on the heels of another major win: a county Sheriff paid a massive settlement after illegally detaining Migrant Justice member Lorenzo Alcudia and turning him over to Border Patrol. Last week, in a six hour meeting to hammer out the final policy, Lorenzo (pictured below) confronted police and Border Patrol over his mistreatment.
"I lived and worked near the border for years," Lorenzo said, "and I can tell you that we are afraid to leave our farms to buy groceries or go to the doctor. We need to stop the targeting of immigrants by police."
Lorenzo's courageous leadership -- backed up by the public pressure created by Migrant Justice and allies -- turned the tide to pass a policy that should prevent what happened to Lorenzo from happening again.
This victory comes after years of organizing by Migrant Justice to advance our worker-defined human rights platform. In 2014, farmworkers descended on the State House to win passage of Act 193, which mandated that all police departments in the state implement "fair and impartial policing" policies and set up the July 1st deadline for a single, model state policy. The law explicitly named Migrant Justice as an organization that must be at the table developing the anti-discrimination measures. Over the last six months -- culminating in last week's meeting -- we have been negotiating with the police to strengthen the policy, alongside our allies at the ACLU, Justice for All, the Human Rights Commission, and the Peace and Justice Center.
Though a great step forward, the policy still contains some dangerous loopholes. Police representatives insisted that certain provisions in the policy limiting police collaboration with immigration agents be considered optional. Migrant Justice will continue to fight to strengthen the policy, and we ask all Vermonters to demand that their local police and sheriffs implement the entire policy, including sections marked as "optional."
The struggle to improve the policy and to ensure its enforcement throughout the state will continue. Yet today we take a moment to applaud this tremendous victory for human rights and migrant justice in Vermont. ¡Pa'lante!