Letter: Fair and impartial policing policy
A recent article in the Brattleboro Reformer, "Community Rallies to Protest Local Man's Deportation," (October 12, 2017), outlined how Mamadou Bau, a Brattleboro resident, fled to Canada to avoid a scheduled deportation to Guinea, where he would have been persecuted. He left behind a wife and five children.
I am concerned that we are likely to see more stories of Vermont families being torn apart if the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council (VCJTC) votes to eliminate certain measures for accountability and protection that exist in the current version of Vermont's Fair and Impartial Policing Policy (FIPP). These measures were fought for by community organizations and advocates such as Migrant Justice, Justice for All, and the ACLU of Vermont.
Among other disturbing changes in the VCJTC's current draft, Vermont law enforcement would be able to call federal immigration authorities to the scene of a traffic stop, resulting in the driver or passenger's arrest and deportation. Local police would be able to share private information about Vermont residents with immigration agents, aiding in their surveillance and arrest of members of our community.
Essentially, the new policy would allow Vermont authorities to help enforce immigration law.
This clearly violates the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which provides that powers delegated to the Federal Government are under their control. Federal immigration laws fall under their jurisdiction and so there is no authority or power of a local law enforcement entity of any state to enforce such laws. This was affirmed in a Supreme Court ruling, U.S. v. Arizona, which held that federal government had the sole authority to enforce both border and immigration law.
Our country was founded by immigrants and almost all of us have ancestors who were immigrants. Immigrants enrich our country in so many ways. Even the Homeland Security website says "The United States has a long history of receiving immigrants from all over the world." Why should the line be drawn after you and I are already here?
The VCJTC will vote on the policy revision on Dec. 12. Please join me and the 40 other Windham County ACLU People Power members in signing this online petition to oppose these deletions and restore the policy to the way it was: https://racialjusticereformomnibusbillvt.wordpress.com
Dummerston, Nov. 3
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