Friday, June 22, 2018

MONTPELIER, Vt. — A group of 22 non-profit and grassroots organizations sent a letter to Governor Phil Scott today, urging him to take action to oppose the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policies resulting in the separation of families.

Despite Trump’s recent executive order, the fate of the 2,300 families who have been separated remains uncertain—there are no plans in place to ensure the families will be reunified—and it is far from clear that the practice of separating families will stop. Additionally, there is widespread concern that the president’s order will replace one crisis with another by creating a system of indefinite family detention.

The organizations are calling on Governor Scott to issue his own executive order to forbid “the use of any state resources that support ‘zero tolerance policy’ actions of federal agencies, including entry prosecutions, separating children from their parents or legal guardians or detaining families indefinitely.”

Governor Scott issued a press release addressing the border crisis earlier this week, but the signatory organizations are calling for substantive action through legislation or executive order that none of the state’s resources will perpetuate the zero tolerance policy.

Many of the same groups are involved in planning demonstrations and rallies across the state in the days ahead. Among the events planned is a demonstration in Lyndonville today from 1-2:30 p.m.; a state house rally on Monday June 25 at 6 p.m.; an event on the U.S./Canadian border at Rouse’s Point, NY on Saturday, June 30; as well as other June 30 events in Burlington, Brattleboro, and Manchester Center, which are part of a national day of action in cities and towns around the country.

The full text of the letter is as follows:

Letter to Gov. Scott re: border entry policies

We call on Governor Phil Scott to take a stand against the Trump Administration’s immoral immigration policies that are systematically targeting immigrants and breaking up families on US soil.

The Trump administration is violating human rights through a series of inhumane policies and actions that have criminalized immigration, targeted migrant workers, stripped DREAMERs and other immigrants of temporary protective status, denied asylum to victims fleeing domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual assault, and forcibly separated children from their families.

We call on Governor Scott to immediately issue an executive order that forbids the use of any state resources that support “zero tolerance policy” actions of federal agencies, including entry prosecutions, separating children from their parents or legal guardians or detaining families indefinitely.

We also call on the Governor to outline how state agencies will protect all immigrant families and individuals in Vermont and investigate illegal and discriminatory tactics of federal immigration officials in the state. 

Finally, we call on the Governor to publicly affirm that Vermont will not perpetuate the Trump Administration’s systemic assault on immigrants and refugees of all backgrounds.

Signed by

ACLU of Vermont

Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Toxics Action Center

Vermont Early Childhood Advocacy Alliance

Vermont Public Interest Research Group

Migrant Justice / Justicia Migrante

Vermont Conservation Voters

Vermont Natural Resources Council

Vermont Center for Independent Living

Public Assets Institute

Planned Parenthood Vermont Action Fund

Vermont Workers' Center

Green Mountain Labor Council, AFL-CIO

Healing Art & Writing

Peace & Justice Center

National Lawyers Guild, Vermont Chapter

Voices for Vermont's Children

Rights & Democracy

Rural Vermont

Vermont Interfaith Action

Green Mountain Self-Advocates