Leahy, Sanders and Welch Join Vermonters to Stop VT Farmworker's Deportation: Lopez Submits Case for Prosecutorial Discretion with Strong Support
Posted Thu, 06/20/2013 - 10:03am
*** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***
Senators Leahy, Sanders and Congressman Welch Join Vermonters to Stop VT Farmworker's Deportation
Lopez Submits Case for Prosecutorial Discretion with Strong Support
BURLINGTON, VT, 6/19/13-- Migrant Justice delayed plans to submit official documentation on Monday that calls upon ICE to utilize prosecutorial discretion to stop the deportation of migrant farmworker leader "Danilo" Lopez. Instead they worked to move Senator Leahy's office to join Senator Sanders and Representative Welch in writing a letter of support for Danilo Lopez's case. It was worth the wait.
Today, Senator Leahy's staff sent the letter of support to Migrant Justice. The letter reads, "Legislation pending before the Senate could potentially resolve Mr. Lopez's current immigration case...This legislation is currently being debated in the Senate, and is not expected to be enacted before Mr. Lopez's ordered date of departure, July 5th...I urge you to use prosecutorial discretion." In his letter Congressman Welch says of Danilo, “his strong ties to Vermont …his commitment to improving opportunities for farmworkers…is why I am joining many Vermonters in weighing on his behalf."
Lopez's full prosecutorial discretion case is available here:
Support materials including the full letters from Senators Leahy, Sanders, and Welch are available here:
The national campaign kicked off with an on-line petition just last week and has quickly gathered nearly 2000 signatures (check out NEW campaign video below).
The petition details Danilo’s history and qualifications for ICE to use “prosecutorial discretion” and will be delivered in person next Thursday by a van full of Vermont farmworkers and allies who will travel from Burlington, VT to head to the Burlington, Mass ICE office to make their case:
Background: On September 13, 2011 Danilo and his cousin Antonio were profiled as passengers in a traffic stop, and were detained by state police and Vermont border patrol. Just one month after his detention, Danilo led a successful meeting with Governor Peter Shumlin resulting in a new state policy that prohibits the use of state resources for immigration enforcement. The VT Human Rights Commission investigated the police stop, and found that Danilo was unlawfully discriminated against in violation of Vermont’s Fair Housing and Public Accommodations Act.
Danilo’s friends and supporters say his case is clear for “prosecutorial discretion” by ICE officials, with his status as a civil rights and human rights leader in Vermont. As Phillip Baruth the Vermont Senate Majority Leader says in his letter of support, “I ask you to exercise your prosecutorial discretion in this case because Danilo has deserved that discretion through his personal conduct, but also because solving our intractable immigration problems will require skilled young leaders on boths side of the debate, and Danilo represents precisely that sort of judicious, sympathetic and level-headed leadership. We sorely need him here in Vermont, every bit as much as he needs your intervention to remain.”