Zuckerman: Legislature must act quickly to block implementation of Trump deportation rules - VTDigger

Zuckerman: Legislature must act quickly to block implementation of Trump deportation rules

David Zuckerman

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman waits to speak at the Women’s March in Montpelier on Jan. 21. Photo by Emily Greenberg/VTDigger

Vermont’s lieutenant governor is urging passage of a state law to block the federal government from deputizing local police in the wake of new Trump administration rules issued Tuesday for the deportation of undocumented immigrants.

The Department of Homeland Security released memos Tuesday that call for the stepped-up deportations of immigrants, broadens the definition of “criminal aliens,” and engages local police in immigration roundups. Undocumented immigrations will be stripped of privacy rights.

The rules are an extension of existing laws that broaden the Trump administration’s authority to arrest and deport immigrants who are not in the United States legally.

Read the orders here.

State officials — Gov. Phil Scott and Vermont Attorney General TJ Donovan and lawmakers — have endorsed legislation that would give Vermont more authority over use of law enforcement in federal immigration sweeps. Scott said Friday he would “resist” participation by the Vermont National Guard in federal deportation efforts.

Vermont dairy farms employ about 1,500 migrant workers from Mexico who are here illegally. Farmers say they can’t keep their operations going without migrant labor.

The presidential order directs Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to assist in stepped up deportation efforts.

Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman says the Legislature must act quickly to pass S.79, which would block federal mobilization of state and local law enforcement to enforce civil immigration laws without the consent of the governor. It would also restrict the collection of personal data that could be used to create a Muslim registry.

“This bill represents our common commitment to both the U.S. and Vermont Constitutions and their intent to protect the individual rights of all Vermonters,” Zuckerman said in a statement. “The bill, which proposes to promote public safety by protecting Vermont residents from compulsory collection of personally identifying information, protects our state powers and recognizes the long, positive history of immigration to our state and country.”

The Senate will take up the bill later this week.

Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe urged his colleagues in the Senate to pass the legislation “as is.” Some activists are looking to tack on “fair and impartial” policing provisions to S.79, which he said could slow passage. The policing bill can be taken up separately, Ashe said.

Anne Galloway

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