National faith organizations endorse Milk with Dignity -- add your name!

National religious groups are endorsing Milk with Dignity -- and turning up the heat on Hannaford supermarkets to join the human rights program!

Following the recent farmworker-led march on Hannaford, three faith organizations wrote to the supermarket chain’s CEO urging him to sign on to Milk with Dignity.  The Presbyterian Church USA (with 2 million members), T’Ruah (an organization of 2,000 rabbis and cantors), and the National Council of Churches (the country’s largest ecumenical body, comprising 45 million churchgoers in 100,000 congregations) are all throwing down for Milk with Dignity.

Add your name!  Take a moment to send an email to Hannaford’s CEO telling him it’s time to join Milk with Dignity.


Hannaford: Join Milk with Dignity!

On October 3rd, over 150 farmworkers, farmers, and consumers joined together to call on Hannaford supermarkets to join the Milk with Dignity program.  Marking the second year anniversary of Ben & Jerry’s entrance into the human rights program, the event celebrated the progress made under Milk with Dignity and called on Hannaford to aid in the program’s expansion. 

Rosi, a dairy worker from central Vermont, invited Hannaford to join the program: “Hannaford has the power to transform the dairy industry.  With almost 200 stores around the northeast, they buy a lot of milk from farms where we are working hard milking cows. Hannaford has an opportunity to be a human rights champion by joining Milk with Dignity."

Milk with Dignity turns two -- and launches a new campaign!

On October 3rd, 2017 farmworkers in Vermont made history by signing the first ever Milk with Dignity agreement with global ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s. The company committed to source its milk from farms that comply with a comprehensive, worker-authored code of conduct. Ben & Jerry’s pays a premium to participating farms, Migrant Justice educates workers on their rights in the program, and a third-party auditor ensures farms’ compliance.

Today we are proud to release a powerful new video, featuring interviews with dairy workers across the state on farms covered by the Milk with Dignity program.  In the video the workers narrate the stark changes experienced in their living and working conditions, as well as the dignity they feel knowing that their rights are being protected by a program that they themselves have created.

And on October 3rd, we will be celebrating the two year anniversary of the program -- and taking action to expand the program. Join farmworkers from around the state to launch the next Milk with Dignity campaign!

Ismael Freed, Mario and Toni Deported, The Struggle Continues

On June 23rd, three farmworkers were profiled and arrested outside a Vermont Walmart. Nearly two months later, after an arduous legal battle, Ismael Mendez is free and back in Vermont with his family and community. Sadly, Ubertoni and Mario were pressured to sign "voluntary departure" petitions and have been deported to Mexico. Ismael's liberation shows the beautiful promise of community solidarity and protest, while Ubertoni and Mario's deportation shows the cruel reality that all too many immigrants face.

After the detention of the farmworkers, nearly 2,000 supporters wrote letters to ICE denouncing the arrest and demanding their release. Dozens of fellow farmworkers participated in a photo-petition, showing their solidarity with their fellow members. And in vigils and marches around the state, thousands of Vermonters took to the streets to connect the brutalities of the national immigration system with the abuses happening in our backyard, chanting: "Close the Camps; Free the Farmworkers!"

On his release after six weeks in detention, Ismael said:

"I​ feel so happy to be free, and for the all the letters, the protests, and the marches. Thank you so much for being out there, fighting for me. From the day I was detained, I knew that people were supporting me, and it made all the difference.

VICTORY! “No Polimigra” law passes -- time to organize!

On Thursday May 30th, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed H.518 -- the “No Polimigra” bill -- into law.  Migrant Justice drafted and fought for this legislation. Its passage gives local communities more power to strengthen policies that stop the collaboration between police and federal immigration authorities (known in Spanish as “polimigra”).

With this new law in place, it’s time to organize! Join Migrant Justice on Monday June 10th, 6-8pm to learn about how to organize against the Polimigra in your community.  RSVP to participate by videoconference or in person at our Burlington office.

"The cows don't milk themselves"

Earlier this year, Migrant Justice leader Enrique “Kike” Balcazar took the stage in Gainesville, Florida to deliver a talk on the founding and growth of Migrant Justice -- and of his own journey from farmworker to human rights leader.  The video from this inspiring and emotional story has just been made available.

Kike spoke at the annual frank gathering, hosted by the University of Florida’s Center for Public Interest Communications.  Migrant Justice was honored to share the center stage over several days with journalists, researchers, and activists, all luminaries in their fields.

Inspired by Kike’s courageous storytelling?  Support Migrant Justice’s farmworker-led human rights organizing with a donation today!

Victory! Beto is Free!

After spending nearly three months in immigration detention, Cruz Alberto Sanchez-Perez, known to his friends as Beto, is finally free! In January Beto was refused bail by an immigration judge but decided to continue fighting for his asylum case based on the violence he has faced as an openly gay man in his home country of Mexico. On March 25th, Beto was granted asylum and today he is reunited with his community in Vermont

Take action! Tell ICE to #FreeBeto

Take action now to stop the deportation of a farmworker!  Beto was arrested by ICE on December 31st, despite his pending asylum claim.  If Beto were deported, he would likely continue to face violence and persecution as a gay man.  Signing these petitions works -- public support has helped release many immigrants from detention. Click "Read More" to learn about his arrest, and sign the petition today!  Together we can #FreeBeto! #Not1More


Migrant Justice v. ICE

Today, November 14th, Migrant Justice filed a major national lawsuit against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  ICE has engaged in a years-long campaign of retaliation against Migrant Justice, in violation of First Amendment protections for freedom of speech and assembly.  We are suing to stop the unlawful, targeted surveillance and harassment of the organization and the arrest and detention of members.  Today we say "Ya Basta, ICE!"

Since 2016, ICE and Border Patrol have arrested over 40 immigrant community members involved in Migrant Justice.  The lawsuit focuses on a handful of those detentions where there is clear evidence that immigration agents targeted members because of their outspoken leadership as human rights defenders, including the notorious arrests of Victor Diaz, Miguel Alcudia, Enrique "Kike" Balcazar, and Zully Palacios.  These detentions have been carried out by ICE as part of a coordinated effort to attack Migrant Justice and disrupt our groundbreaking organizing for human rights and economic justice, including through electronic surveillance and the use of a confidential informant. 

ICE has been aided in this campaign of repression by the Vermont DMV, also named as a defendant in the lawsuit.  Since Migrant Justice passed a 2013 law allowing all Vermont residents to access driver's licenses regardless of immigration status, the DMV has discriminated against immigrant applicants.  Claiming they were being "over run by by immigrants," employees routinely passed confidential information to ICE agents and facilitated the arrest of immigrants.  Public records requests have revealed troves of emails between ICE and the DMV, with state employees forwarding what they referred to as "South of the Border" names.  They continued to do so even after being forced to adopt a policy stating that employees: “shall not dedicate department time or resources to the enforcement of federal immigration law.”  ICE has relied on the VT DMV's discriminatory practices in its campaign to silence Vermont's immigrant community leaders, writing to one state employee: “We’re going to have to make you an honorary ICE officer!”

By filing this landmark lawsuit, Migrant Justice is escalating its resistance to ICE's and the DMV's unlawful attacks.  We are standing up for the First Amendment's guarantees of freedom of speech and assembly, and for the constitution's promise of equal protection under the law.  We are saying to ICE, enough is enough: "Ya Basta!"