Tell Vermont legislators: No to racist policing, no "Polimigra"!
Take a moment to write to your state legislators and urge them to support a strong Fair and Impartial Policing Policy that protects immigrant rights in Vermont!
Migrant Justice has fought for years to stop police from discriminating against immigrants and collaborating with immigration agents, a practice known in Spanish as "Polimigra."
On February 7th, the state's Criminal Justice Council – the body responsible for police training, policies and regulation – was slated to vote on recommendations from their Fair and Impartial Policing Subcommittee. The recommendations would strengthen Vermont's policy governing police interactions with federal deportation agencies like ICE and Border Patrol. Facing opposition from police, however, the Council postponed their vote and sent the policy back to committee for further review.
During the meeting, Chittenden County Deputy Sheriff Mike Major, representing the Vermont Police Association, was caught on a hot mic. As a farmworker and Migrant Justice member spoke about wanting to feel safe while driving to the grocery store, Deputy Major could be heard saying “You’re fucking here illegally and you’re worried about being safe? Yeah, okay.”
In response, Migrant Justice released the following statement:
“The public comments from the Vermont Police Association in today’s meeting were a clear and painful reflection of the racism that still exists in this state. How can any immigrant in Vermont hear those words and not fear that the police will turn them over to ICE or Border Patrol if given the chance? This shows us why Vermont needs a stronger Fair and Impartial Policing Policy. The state must act now to remove Trump-era loopholes and truly protect immigrant rights.”
Write your legislators today asking them to contact the Criminal Justice Council and urge swift adoption of a stronger Fair and Impartial Policing Policy!
For years, immigrants in Vermont have pushed to stop the collaboration between local police and federal immigration enforcement. This work hit its high-water mark in 2016, when Migrant Justice and allies succeeded in implementing a statewide model Fair and Impartial Policing Policy (FIPP) with robust protections for immigrant rights.
The next year, however, with threats from the incoming Trump Administration to defund so-called “sanctuary states,” Vermont policy-makers caved and quickly added loopholes that allow police to communicate with ICE and Border Patrol agents. Since the policy was watered down, police in the state have exploited these loopholes to turn immigrants over to the feds for detention and deportation. In a recent article, one Vermont sheriff estimated that he had collaborated with immigration agents twenty times in the past year.