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.

If you read us, please support us.

Comment Policy

VTDigger.org requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harrassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Comments should be 1000 characters or fewer.

We moderate every comment. Please go to our FAQ for the full policy.

Anne Galloway

About Anne

Anne Galloway is the founder and editor of VTDigger.org and the executive director of the Vermont Journalism Trust. She has been a journalist for 20 years. Galloway was the editor of the Sunday Rutland Herald and Times Argus from 2006 through 2009. For many years, she was a contributing writer for Seven Days, and her reporting has appeared in The New York Times (Vows column), the New York Daily News, Vermont Life and City Pages (Minneapolis). In March 2017, she was a finalist for the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for her investigation into allegations of fraud at Jay Peak Resort. Galloway was also a finalist for the Investigative Reporters & Editors FOI Award in April 2017.

Email: agalloway@vtdigger.org

Follow Anne on Twitter @GallowayVTD

Latest stories by Anne

Recent Stories

Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "Zuckerman: Legislature must act quickly to block implementation of Tr..."
  • Bruce Wilkie

    Vermont citizens need to form a rapid response team to respond to farms that will be under attack from Trump’s jackbooted thugs. A show of citizen force to counter these fascist tactics from a horrible “president” is appropriate, and a blockade to protect our farmers and their employees from federal forces is warranted.

    • It sure worked for a bunch of pissed of white people with guns out in Oregon … or maybe that’s the problem: we’re not lashing out, we’re not all white people, and we’re not carrying guns.

      • Kyle Hislop

        Being white sure helped Lavoy Finicium when he was gunned down on the side of the road by the FBI during that standoff.

      • Michael Olcott

        if those folks had not been armed and ready for a violent confrontation with ‘the state’ then they would have been tear gassed into submission. all of our rights depend on the 2nd A to back them up.

        • Phil Greenleaf

          Where are the Oregon militiamen and women now? 2nd amendment doesn’t stop prosecutions man.

    • Chris wilmot

      Why protect farmers exploiting people by working them 80hrs s week for below legal wages?

      • John French

        I believe there is a law preventing employers from employing illegals or undocumented individuals.

    • wendywilton

      The EO has been in force for over a month. No sign of jackbooted thugs. Hysteria has hit a new level all for political gain. Immigration is federally controlled for a reason. The state is likely stepping into a legal quagmire it should not.

      Why do we need immigrant labor on farms? Is it because Vermonters don’t (or won’t) do this kind of work?

      I say the boot that’s really needed is for the state to grow up and put people back to work and off the welfare system. We’d have fewer drug problems and labor problems if we did. Maybe we need to boot Zuckerman and the rest of the crazy legislators that spend all this time on issues of little use while our tax rates climb and our economy stumbles.

      • Richard Ley

        It just seems like the old Vermont is gone and we no longer stand for what is right in this state…

        If we don’t like the results of an election we keep voting and recounting until we get the results we want whether it is line with current procedure or not…

        I think if David Zuckerman and our other elected officials disagreeing with protecting a laws, laid down by the state of Vermont or the Federal government, should step down from office… when we elect these people we do not expect them to violate the laws that they swear to uphold

        We live in a state where the people that live here and have been living here their entire lives are struggling to survive yet there is no concern for them

        We do have a choice in this matter when it comes to the next elections it is time to boot these people out of office

        Let’s restore Vermont to the great state she used to be

        • Michael Olcott

          See that is just the problem. They are trying to keep VT the way it always has been. small farms and very rural with a few big metro areas. people nowadays dont want to work in an environment that stinks like excrement all day long. our insane tax and environmental policies keep other industries out so our next generation leaves. i for one want VT to move into the future not go back to the need to work 18 hrs a day just to survive through the winters.

        • Neil Johnson

          We are totally run by lobbyists, monopoly and party politics. You’ll notice how they react immediately to national news, but they never seem to react to local citizen pressure. It is not a coincidence. Rules for Radicals is the guide book for the Alinsky Democrats, it is no longer the Traditional Democrats, the party of Kennedy where parties actually worked together. We have the same sellouts in the Republican Party too. Everyone should read Rules for Radicals, it totally explains American Politics for the last 30-40 years and why we are in the lovely mess we are. It’s all about power and money.

    • Ritva Burton

      There is a legal path to legal immigration. If we allow illegals to stay here, what is the message they are getting? That the laws of the United States of America don’t matter! Ignoring the laws is why the country is in this huge mess. It’s time to fix it and that way is not by ignoring our laws. The lieuenant governor can go fly a kite!

      • Kathy Leonard

        There is no available legal path to these dairy workers. They should at least be given work visas which would be a safe win-win for all. Trump brings in workers to operate his Florida estate…has he checked them for jaywalking? I am amazed at the lack of human compassion in evidence here.

        • Ritva Burton

          I believe there are work visas – as in apple pickers (seasonal workers) from Jamaica that arrive every fall. But these farm workers choose to be here illegally due to immigration laws being ignored for many years.

          • Kathy Leonard

            Not so, Ritva. The Congress appears to prefer to keep it this way, having disallowed dairy worker coverage by that visa setup for years now. Why would you think that dairy workers would “choose” to be here illegally if there were an alternative that would be safe?

    • Kyle Hislop

      Eight years of “please sir, may I have another” and now it’s up in arms against federal overreach? I guess fascism is o.k. as long as it’s from the left side of the aisle.

    • Jon Corrigan

      That should certainly scare off federal agents enforcing federal law.

  • John French

    I think our newly elected Governor should just change his party status to Democrat. This man has caved in to the left since day one.If he continues to be led by the Dems in this state he will loose Federal funding from which this state needs.As far as the national Guard is concerned,the gov. has no say about the use of the guards if the feds. want to active them for any purpose.They are the property of the U.S. military,the commander in chief,The President.So go ahead and and be tyrannical,but be ready for political back lash.

  • Bruce Wilkie


  • Steven Berry

    Pass S.79 as is this week.

  • Chet Greenwood

    And what if Homeland Security or the Federal Administration says okay have it your way but you get zero Fed funds for law enforcement- and quite possibly zero funds in other areas?

    • Bruce Wilkie

      Selling our souls to the highest bidder is not how Vermonters operate.

      • Richard Ley

        Violating the laws of our nation is NOT how we operate either!

      • Jon Corrigan

        That’s fine – just break our your checkbook to help cover the 40 percent of our budget Vermonters don’t pay for.

        • Phil Greenleaf

          And you break out yours to cover the millions that your vaunted corporations are ducking in taxes, thank you very much. Before another bill is passed or another executive action comes along from Federale Trump we need to balance the books on that corporate money we say we want to bring back. So obvious. Great statement Bruce W! This is not time for fearful equivocation. The problem lies in the sacred tax codes which cause panicked screaming and also allow the big boys to duck out when time comes to pay. You call that democracy? Viva la huelga.

  • Paul Roberts

    It appears that we have a state government that wishes to thumb its nose at
    existing laws in our country. The United States is a country governed by the rule of law. If our governor and Lt. governor want to “resist” the enforcement of existing laws with respect to immigrants who are in our country illegally, what other laws are they willing to turn a blind eye to?? Is it now ok to commit a small theft or robbery as long as it does not disturb someone else?? Who will decide what laws really apply to the citizens of this state? Freelancing when it comes to enforcement or non-enforcement
    of our laws is a first step to total disregard for our legal system. Since the United States has a legal pathway to immigrate into this country, those who choose not to follow this course are therefore illegal. If you are in our country by choice illegally, what other laws of this country are you not willing to comply with? We cannot read intent, but we can see what is happening before our eyes – the willful flouting of the laws of a sovereign nation.

    • Steve Baker

      Correct Paul, We want the Federal Welfare to keep our State afloat but we want to pick and chose the Federal laws we follow!

  • Renée Carpenter

    Thanks for the article–and to David Zuckerman, Phil Scott, TJ Donovan and others for being willing to act to protect our state from disastrous federal policies.

    You wrote, “Vermont dairy farms employ about 1,500 migrant workers from Mexico who are here illegally.”

    Perhaps it is time to be more clear and specific: Nationally, the mass public has been demanding reform of immigration laws that do not reflect the basic values–or the economic and social needs–of our country. Because of this, immigrants who have the necessary skills and/or family ties and/or economic links to the U.S. ARE UNABLE TO GET DOCUMENTS that would allow them to be considered “LEGAL.”

    Since we can all understand this predicament–a government that does not reflect our values, and with increasing dysfunction–perhaps it is time we referred to these valuable Mexicans (and other immigrants) as “undocumented.” Try this:

    “Vermont dairy farms employ about 1,500 undocumented migrant workers from Mexico.”

    I can’t tell whether or not they have documents (do you wear your documents where they can be seen?), but my neighboring organic dairy farm where I pick up my milk–and often eggs, meat and produce–employs several brown skinned people along with a few female caucasians. They are all equally valuable in producing a high quality, local food supply. We smile and wave to each other, sometimes exchange a few words, and I am very thankful for their presence and hard work!

    Time to fix the laws, starting right here in Vermont!

    • Chet Greenwood

      I agree Renee, it is time to fix the laws -not the time to disobey the laws.

      • Phil Greenleaf

        What would your re=writng of the laws look like Chet? I’m guessing pretty different from Renee’s. But let’s see. On a national level mine starts with Amnesty, then recognition of the backbreaking work completed in support of great American institutional agribusiness (whole other topic). Next, into wage and labor pool analysis to see if there is any competition for field and factory jobs that many assume would be filled by “documented” “Americans” if it were not for the scourge of our utterly undefended borders (whole other topic). Then on to the unpopular but needed work to grant folks the option of “path to citizenship” – if desired, or permanent impermanence (dig it). In VT it is a pretty farcical microcosm of the massive issue in CA, AZ, midwest meatpacking villages, and big cities, but like Renee said we can lead the nation as usual with progressive creative thought. Let’s go.

  • Steve Baker

    Zuckerman got elected to a “Do-Nothing” Job.
    Why can’t Liberal Progressives read, understand, and follow the law? If you don’t like a Law, work to change it, don’t ignore it or call illegitimate..You work for the Taxpayers David, You sword to uphold the law. Should be the end of discussion.

    • Richard Ley

      We had an excellent man with experience in Randy Brock who ran against Zuckerman but another mistake was made for the State of Vermont when we elected this man.
      We are a nation of laws and anyone who does not stand for those laws is against the United Stated of America.
      We put people in office and we expect them to obey all of the laws we have in place.
      What will be the next thing Zuckerman violates that affects all Vermonters?
      We can not trust people like this to represent us.
      We need to get out and vote to restore Vermont to the great state she once was.

    • Tiki Archambeau

      Strange to see so-called small-government Conservatives suddenly embracing big government.

      Zuckerman is right. I want my police force enforcing criminal laws, not checking my papers to enforce arbitrary federal laws.

      • Steve Baker

        Tiki, immigration and border security is one of the very very few responsibilities of the federal government. So I’m being very consistent in my small government view.
        It’s ironic that some of you big government lovers of the bloated bureaucracy and in less welfare programs never complained when your president sued individual states will try to enforce the Federal immigration law much like Zuckerman and Scot are calling for.
        It seems hypocrisy has a very short memory.

      • Richard Ley

        Which of the federal laws are arbitrary

  • Adam Haggett

    I’m worried about our leadership, let’s be proactive

    Let’s pass a law that gives incentives to banks and lending institutions to give low interest loans to dairy farmers for robotic milkers,

    Water quality: Maybe the state should pay 25 percent if farmers switch to 50 percent grass based diet for twenty years, or whatever percentages,

  • James Hall

    This state has many priorities that out weigh the Zuckerman proposal. How about getting to work on a plan that will make Vermont affordable again, rather than tucking it to retirees and fixed income people? How about getting some business and industry to locate here that are needed for jobs, rather than the monthly handouts that keep bu

  • James Hall

    Burdening those of us who are left here to pay the bills. There does not appear to be any sense of urgency to deal with unfunded pension liabilities, the 70+ million $ budget gap, the education monster that is tearing up the state from Holcombe’s corners!! Let’s get real folks, get back to common sense and good ole VT judgement. A few more legislative sessions like this one and others of late will put us into bankruptcy.

    • Tiki Archambeau

      The gutting of Vermont’s dairy industry is not something most Vermonters would so easily dismiss.

      • Steve Baker

        Follow the Laws, they actually do work.

      • Jon Corrigan

        Why should anybody support failing dairy farms by allowing them to employ illegal aliens, avoid paying the same taxes as other businesses, and pay slave wages?

      • Richard Ley

        When people hire employees for their business they know exactly what they are doing and they know the risks they are taking

        If they don’t have a plan B the burden is on them not the rest of the state

        I am so disappointed in people that don’t believe the rule of law should be followed and I am disgusted at David Zuckerman for trying to sidestep these laws

        How can we trust someone to represent us in Montpelier that is so deceitful

  • Peter Chick

    I think rushing anything through legislation only spells problems.

  • Pam Ladds

    Clearly the human aspect of what is happening to those who are undocumented is not swaying many of those commenting on this article, nor the harassment to those who are documented but are required to prove it -over and over. And even though this is VT and we have dairy farms that are struggling the impact on there is somehow unimportant too! So let’s try the larger impact of this flawed and brutal policy, and its even worse implementation. We are losing visitors, lots of them. The Toronto papers are encouraging Canadians to think again before crossing. The New York Times may be a “failing newspaper” but it has a lot more clout than the current administration believes, and it is pointing out in its travel section that we are not doing well bringing in those dollar spending tourists! https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/20/travel/after-travel-ban-declining-interest-trips-to-united-states.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur The North East Kingdom, home to several border crossings and an economy dependent on tourism and not much else, is not going to thrive economically Do we want Bienvenue Newport, the Trade arrangements that we have with the Canadians, our international airport, our shared lake and other people friendly sources of income to disappear? And do we seriously want to be seen by the rest of the world as bullies?

    • Richard Ley

      You know I am saddened by the people that would buy into what others think as an encouragement to do the wrong thing

      You cannot be wrong if you are doing the right thing regardless of how others view you

  • gabrielwinebrenner

    As a conservative socialist who highly respects Zuckerman, why is it so politically incorrect to not enforce our immigration laws in this country, that are enforced in every other sovereign nation anywhere else??? Canada requires police to inform immigration services if someone is revealed being of status of unlawfully entering the country/no discussion in the matter, Mexico=mandatory 2 year jail sentence for illegal immigrants… Japan=7-9 year ban of entry and swift deportation…, Filipines, you don’t want to be there doing that… etc…, etc… No other country on our planet has sanctuary cities. It’s so ridiculous. I, as blue collar worker, am not allowed to migrate to any other country due to a “low skill set,” but illegal immigrants can come in mass and take away working class jobs of US and legal immigrants,thereby lowering wages and tipping the balance of supply and demand. No other country allows this. Democrats are idiots. I know Bernie is against illegal immigration as he said, “A country without borders is a Koch Brother’s idea.” But he towed the “politically correct line,” in the democratic primary. Dems are really getting despicable. I can’t fathom considering myself one ever again. Limousine liberals they’ve all become. Nancy Pelosi and her 200 million in the bank, spouting bs like she’s some public servant.

    • Richard Ley

      Politically Incorrect has nothing to do with what is happening here.

      We elect politicians to obey the laws in America not to violate them

      Zuckerman needs to bow out of office if he doesn’t believe that the laws in America are here to obey

      We should have laws in this country that allow us to remove people like this from Office

    • Phil Greenleaf

      The questions are: 1)does “illegal” immigration really “take away” jobs?
      2) What would lead you to think we aren’t enforcing our immigration laws?

      My answers are: 1)No and 2)propaganda.

      Look at the statistics on that and reply.

  • David Austin

    I took the time to read S.79. I did not find anything there that was particularly unusual or alarming. Rather, it appears to attempt to uphold the rights and protections that most of us take for granted. I did not vote for either Trump or Clinton. And I am not convinced that whoever happens to inhabit the White House matters a whole lot. But regardless of who the current resident is, I do not want that person directing the activities of Vermont Law Enforcement. I enjoy the ability to walk around without my “papers”. And I think all of us are already subjected to more than enough surveillance and invasions of privacy. In business you are always looking at cost/benefit analysis when contemplating a decision. I don’t know how much it would cost to bust down the doors of virtually every milking parlor in the state to round up a bunch of Mexicans. But I’m guessing it’s a losing financial proposition. Same thing with “registering” everyone according to religion. It might make some people feel better. But feeling better does not solve economic issues. And it will not make you any safer either. At one time, the fools from Washington would have been sent packing and told to stay the hell out of Vermont. This is mild by comparison. Wasn’t there a war fought over State’s rights once upon a time…?

    • Joyce Hottenstein

      Illegal means they do not have the same constitutional rights as citizens. They broke the law they are criminals.

      • Phil Greenleaf

        There are many fully documented and unindicted criminals wandering our streets Joyce. Some people seem to have loftier rights than others. Let’s start somewhere – how about basic human rights?

  • wendywilton
  • JustinTurco

    An illegal immigrant is breaking the law. I don’t think we should enable that. I said it yesterday, I’ll say it again. My neighbor’s farm is failing, in part, because he can’t hire good help because farms who employ low cost illegals are helping to keep milk costs artificially low. While these farms are running my friend out of business they also put a financial burden on the rest of us with their subsidized wind turbine and methane powered generator. I can only imagine all the other benefits a person who thinks this way must be signed up for. Not a good deal for those of us who are trying to pay our own way and can’t help but be run down by cheap foreign labor. As a side note. I fly for a living. The Federal Gov. just approved Norwegian International Airlines to fly into the US. NAI gets their people and runs their business outside of Norway. That’s what we call a “flag of convenience carrier”, and it is a bad deal for guys like me. Don’t think it can’t hit you in your wallet too. Wait long enough and you too will lose your job to someone happy to work cheaper from afar.

  • Howard Dindo

    If farmers and other business people couldn’t have access to the ILLEGAL ALIEN workforce because of OUR President, Donald Trump, was following EXISTING laws by deporting them, they wouldn’t be able to pay, approximately, the minimum wage of $8 an hour but have to pay the MARKET wage of approximately $16 an hour, to hire LEGAL residence. Also, if LEGAL residence were working, the government wouldn’t tax us for LEGAL residents welfare benefits because they would we WORKING! Not only would the government not have to tax us citizens for these welfare benefits of LEGAL residence but would not have to tax us for welfare benefits of ILLEGAL ALIENS because presently, ILLEGAL ALIENS are allowed to stay here and receive welfare benefits. OUR President Trumps policy of following the laws of this country would be a win, win situation for all UNITED STATES OF AMERICA CITIZENS. As to what happens to the ILLEGAL ALIENS after there are deported, we should have a heart and treat as we would like to be treated, by doing what President Kennedy did. President Kennedy established the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps allowed our citizens to volunteer to go to other countries to TEACH them how to take care of themselves, like growing crops and raising live stock. Also, when violence threatened these foreign countries, President Kennedy sent military advisers to these countries to show them how to defend themselves from violent people and oppressive regimes. President Kennedy believed citizens have the DUTY to protect their family, fellows citizens, property, land and government from oppression and violence and not the duty of running away from violence and oppression. This is how to handle ILLEGAL ALIENS and how to help citizens of foreign countries. As to the rights of ILLEGAL ALIENS to come and to stay in this country, they have no rights and must be deported as soon as someone can get their hands on them. My grandfather and other forefathers came to this country only after applying for entry and receiving PERMISSION from the United States Government. They didn’t come without PERMISSION! They had to be sponsored, have a minimum amount of money in their pockets, have a place to live and if they wanted to stay here longer than what the United States Government allowed, apply to stay longer as a VISITOR or apply for citizenship. They all apply to citizenship and when approved, agreed to learn the language and abide by ALL laws. Now, for those of you for don’t understand the above, it is time for you to go. Where you go, we, the majority of WORKING AMERICANS, doesn’t care. JUST GO. Before you go, you’re require to post, on this site, any information you know about any ILLEGAL ALIENS. When find out where they are hiding, we will physically bring them go the nearest ICE agent for their LEGAL deportation. If you don’t tell us this information before you leave, the Federal Government will attach all of your assets before you go. Any questions?

    • Phil Greenleaf

      Trump’s just-proposed budget has cutbacks to “Corps” programs. Good idea – wrong president. With that option in question :

      I agree to join your effort to make sure illegal aliens are transported to the nearest Impartial Community Empowerment (ICE) office for a warm welcome and thanks. They can then be legally deported back to work and then to relax unafraid of disturbance from rampaging police squads (far too much of that in Central America and Mexico). You and I will grant them this permission under the “we the people” clause of our country’s founding documents. My grandfather ( a known radical) approves of this as well and his forefathers emigrated here with the permission of the King of France! How’s that for permission? Next time you eat fresh food purchased at a supermercado give thanks to those workers who backbreakingly support out agricultural distribution system.

  • Neil Johnson

    Ever notice how our state reacts instantly to Federal issues, but never addresses the tax issue Vermonters ask for? Never addresses the school issues Vermonters ask for?

    It’s because our representatives get money and direction from outside our borders. Lobbyists, monopolies, press, Party directives, non-profits….. everybody but Vermont Citizens. It’s the reason why nobody wanted an Ethics bill. Notice how that got swept under the rug?