On Tuesday December 12th, a group of law enforcement officials voted to weaken Vermont's Fair and Impartial Policing policy (FIP), opening the door to more discrimination and police collaboration with Trump's deportation agents.
The vote took place just as new details are emerging from a traffic stop over the summer that resulted in the immigration detention of two farmworkers, a father and son.
A deputy with the Franklin County Sheriff's Department is seen on video calling Border Patrol to the scene after pulling over a dairy worker for lack of vehicle registration and learning that he is a Mexican national. Throughout the 45 minute ordeal, sheriff's deputies offer extensive support to the deportation agents, who use racial slurs to refer to the immigrant workers. Months after the stop, the two farmworkers continue to be held in immigration detention pending their deportation.
Despite extensive local and national coverage of the issue, over a thousand emails to law enforcement and elected officials, and the firm opposition of Migrant Justice members and allies at Tuesday's meeting, the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council voted to water down the FIP by creating new loopholes to allow for discriminatory treatment.
Though Tuesday's vote was a blow to human rights, the struggle for equal treatment in Vermont continues. The new policy won't go into effect until March 1st, 2018, and Migrant Justice will continue to fight to ensure that Vermont law enforcement stay out of the business of deportation. Stay tuned for next steps!